The Bread and Roses seating plan to accommodate the new COVID-19 restrictions has been worked out well. Social distancing has been considered. Although due to the narrow corridors Theatre goers need to use some common sense as well to allow everyone to use the hallway safely.
Playwright Darren Donohue’s play “I and the Village” centres around three asylum seekers based in Ireland. Jeta (Chida Kunene) Keicha (Funke Adeleke) and Hannah (Laide Sonola). Each of these actors had an enormous presence when each delivered their part describing the abuse they had experienced before arriving at the centre. Adeleke’s delivered a couple of very raw emotional scenes which were extremely moving. However, I feel it is unfair to single out one actor as each of the three roles only worked as the entire ensemble.
The safety of the three young ladies is challenged throughout the production as each of them describes the atrocities they have suffered before their arrival to the detainment centre. However, when Jeta and Carl have a frank and open conversation we learn that the young ladies are not necessarily safe in there either. Predatory men are to be found close by who are preying on the vulnerability of the young girls detained situation and exploit them.
The strong Irish accent held by Carl (Mark Rush), the detainment centre manager allows the audience to know where the centre is firmly based throughout the performance. There are a couple of scenes when the girls talk about “home” that I could visualise them back in Nigeria.
The storyline can be slightly disjointed in places and not always easy to follow. However, with the trauma that these three young women have been subjected to, left me feeling that this could reflect their undiagnosed PTSD symptoms, where memories of trauma can return in an erratic order.
I think, I and the Village would have been an extremely challenging play, for Co-directors Velenzia Spearpoint and Rebecca Pryle, along with assistant director Tom Ward. Alongside, the incredible cast, they have created a thought provoking and emotional insight, into a hidden world.
I and the Village is on until June 5th 2021. Please check out the link below for further information.
What’s On – The Bread & Roses Theatre (breadandrosestheatre.co.uk)