Writer and actor Cliffordkuju Henry talks about his show ‘In Search of a White Identity’ showing on The Actors Centre’s online demand platform
Originally performed as part of The Actors Centre’s ‘Working Class Season’ in 2018 and curated by theatre company Actors Awareness, Cliffordkuju Henry’s ‘In Search of a White Identity’ returns, a topical piece of political theatre exploring the friendship of two protesters who find themselves on opposing sides of a march. A show exploring class, race and masculinity, Cliffordkuju tells us more about what to expect from the show.
Hi Cliffordkuju, your show In Search of a White Identity will be available on Actors Centre’s online demand theatre platform from 27th Nov to 6th Dec. How are you feeling ahead of the streaming?
I feel excited. I really appreciate the creative team around me, as well as The Actors Centre’s Chief Executive, Amanda Davey for her initial support for the play.
The show explores the friendship between Patrick and Mickey, two men who find themselves on the opposing side of a protest. Initially performed as part of The Actor Centre’s ‘Working Class Season’, curated by Actor Awareness, what inspired you to explore this topic further?
After doing the scratch production supported by Actor Awareness in 2019, and in response to audiences who wanted to see more, I wanted to deepen the understanding of the background of the two characters.
A timely piece of theatre now performed post the Black Lives Matter movement, how have you found revisiting the show? Have you made adaptations to the piece?
Revisiting the show, I knew we needed to explore the death of a black male, and how traumatising it was for society as a whole. We developed the play through improvisation around those events.
The show is directed by Victoria Evaristo, how have you worked together to realise the show?
Working with Victoria has been a joy. She has a good understanding of masculinity and class.
Initially a live performance piece, in light of the current Covid crisis, the show is filmed by cinematographer Dann Emmons and edited by Nicholas Paton. What does it mean to have your show recorded in our now digital age of theatre? What has the support from The Actors Centre and Actor Awareness meant to you?
Working in this digital age where film records theatre gives the audience an opportunity to see the characters’ human reactions more holistically. Dann Emmons and Nicholas Paton used three different cameras which allows the audience to see what they wouldn’t be able to see in a theatre.
What can viewers expect from the show?
Two men of different races beginning the process of having a dialogue around the complexity of race and the emotional hangover of racism and classism.
What would you like for viewers to take away from the show?
I’d like them to take away a good sense of the effects of trauma on masculinity, and the complex emotions as a result of class oppression and racism.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
In Search of a White Identity will be showing on The Actors Centre, website from Friday 27th November until Sunday 6th December 2020. To find out more about the production, visit here…
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