Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and Actors Touring Company Autumn 2023#
The double-decker bus taking us from a secret location in South East London to General Gordon Square in Woolwich is more than just a physical journey.
It is also the performance space for the play The Architect, which conjures up a life journey of certain black Londoners whose history will echo that of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence murdered in 1993.
The bus conductor (Llewella Gideon) sets the mood with her account of a London where boarded-up homes sit alongside luxury houses. Occasionally between scenes she speaks directly to us and at one point gets everyone singing the song ‘Silly Games.’
Approximately twelve scenes take us from a newly arrived Caribbean couple of the 1950s (Danielle Kassaraté and Daniel Ward) affectionately planning their new life, to a present-day black architect (Karl Collins) who talks about a very different organisation of the built environment.
He will also give a speech in General Gordon Square under a sign that reads ‘The Architects Dream.’
The Caribbean couple are followed on the bus by a heavily pregnant woman (Doreene Blackstock) discussing with a younger woman Nadia (Shayde Sinclair), who calls her auntie, the hopes she has for her son in a dangerous country for black people.
Two lads (Dalumuzi Moyo & Omar Austin) later join the bus, chatting about a party. One of them mentions he is going to university and hoping to become an architect.
All these events recall Stephen who had hopes of becoming an architect.
As we pass the spot on Well Hall Road where he was killed, a group of eight runners of different ages from local athletic clubs, including the one to which Stephen belonged, run alongside the bus. We also pass the memorial established in his honour.
The show is a moving, well-performed piece written by Bola Agbaje, Mojisola Adebayo, Dexter Flanders, Vanessa Macaulay and Roy Williams.
It was conceived by Mojisola Adebayo, Roy Williams and the director Matthew Xia.
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Review - The Architect - GADF 2023