By May Sumbwanyambe (2016)
Directed by George Turvey. Designed by Max Dorey. Lighting by Christopher Nairne. Sound by Richard Hammarton.
Cast: Stefan Adegbola. Sandra Duncan. Peter Guinness. Beatriz Romilly.
Africa is changing. Country by country, step by step. But for Guy and Kathleen, life on their ranch goes on, just as it has since their ancestors first claimed this land. Until a man from the new government arrives with a smile and a purchase order – but there’s more than just land at stake. Charles will do whatever it takes to restore the farm to the ‘native’ population.
A game of cat and mouse, claim and counter-claim, begins, with the heritage of an entire nation to play for. As truths are revealed and moralities questioned, are things ever more than simply black and white?
Inspired by real events in Zimbabwe, May Sumbwanyambe‘s first play is an unflinching examination of land ownership, dispossession and justice in a post-colonial world.
May, 29, was born in Edinburgh a year after his parents emigrated to the U.K. from Zambia. Their family is split across Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. May’s grandfather was an elected Mayor in Zambia and an early advocate for the independence of all African nations. His father was in the government of the first post-independence President of Zambia.
2016 Alfred Fagon Audience Award winner
“★★★★ May Sumbwanyambe’s notable debut play, presented by those remarkable unearthers of new talent, Papatango.” —Evening Standard
“★★★★ A debut of astonishing maturity…a rare discovery” —The Times
“★★★★ A strong debut…Passionate performances” —Plays To See
“★★★★ Beautifully crafted…Echoes of Chekhov” —Hackney Gazette
“Highly intelligent and thoughtful…A writer of terrific potential.” —Daily Telegraph
“A beautiful production of a promising debut” —The Stage
“Real eloquence and even-handedness…an insightful account of an impossible situation.” —WhatsOnStage
“Director George Turvey’s skill in marshalling four strong performances” —Time Out
“Sparks of genius.” —Words of Color
“A gripping clash…Sumbwanyambe’s writing maintains a cracking pace…Plaudits to the Papatango Theatre Company for its role in finding the best and brightest new writing talent in the UK.” —One World
“Hugely impressive” —The Spectator
Post-show events supported by Developing Artists