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United Kingdom: 'For Black Boys', the dynamic, daring play wowing the West End


A scene from For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy. Photograph: Ali Wright in The Guardian

"For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy is a multisensory play built round a group therapy session with six Black boys, it blends playful repartee with real emotions and hardships.


The boys’ names are synonymous with Blackness – Onyx, Pitch, Jet, Midnight, Sable, Obsidian – and each of them bears the soft bellies of Black men who hope to be comforted, rather than eaten alive by each other. Each is distinct in their willingness to engage with group therapy; Onyx is the least interested in shedding his tough exterior, but interventions by the group reveal him to be needing the most care.


The play has experienced the kind of runaway success writer-director Cameron, now 34, had never imagined. Its sold-out premiere at London’s New Diorama theatre in 2021 was followed by another sold-out five-week run at the Royal Court in 2022. Both shows were met with the kind of organic hype that no marketing operation can fake.


[...]


The boys all feel the play’s success comes down to it being, in Lawrence’s words, “unapologetic” in speaking to a Black male experience. While the work is imaginative, spectacular and defined by movement, it is also heavy, with material that makes you sit still. Jalloh also praises drama therapist Wabriya King, who has “been taking care of us. We all have sessions to help separate ourselves from the characters,” and each of the actors speak of the care they receive from Cameron and co-director Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu. They view the play as something that has taken on its own life."


Read the whole interview by Jason Okundaye in The Guardian here

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