Autumn Season | August - October 2014

RACHEL

by Angelina Weld Grimké

 
Tuesday, 30 September – Saturday, 25 October 2014

The European premiere

“Today, we colored men and women, everywhere - are up against it... In the South, they make it as impossible as they can for us to get educated. In the North, they make a pretence of liberality; they give us the ballot and a good education, and then snuff us out. Each year, the problem just to live, gets more difficult to solve.”

Rediscovered by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson, Rachel is a genuinely lost landmark of American theatre – the first play by an African American woman ever produced professionally. The European premiere - and the world's first production for nearly 100 years – of Rachel is directed by exciting young director Ola Ince, as part of Black History Month.

Rachel is a young, educated, middle-class woman.

But she is born into an African-American family in the early 20th century – a world in which ignorance and violence prevail.

While her family and neighbours find different ways to survive, Rachel's dreams of getting married and becoming a mother collide with the tragic events of her family’s past as she confronts the harsh reality of a racist world.

"Our hands are clean; theirs are red with blood. We are destined to failure – they, to success. Their children shall grow up in hope; ours, in despair.”

Written exactly midway between the American Civil War and the end of slavery, and the explosion of Civil Rights in the 1960s, this hauntingly beautiful and profoundly shocking play still asks urgent questions for today.

Rachel was first produced by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1916 in Washington, D.C., and subsequently at the Neighborhood Theater, New York City, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with an all-black cast.

Leading African-American historian Alain Leroy Locke said of Rachel that it was "the first successful drama written by a Negro and interpreted by Negro actors."

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT ANGELINA WELD GRIMKÉ

Playwright Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958) was a poet, dramatist, journalist, teacher, essayist, radical feminist and lesbian icon. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into an unusual and distinguished mixed-race family which, within the three preceding generations, included slaveholders and slaves, free black people, white abolitionists, and advocates for women's rights and women's suffrage. She is widely regarded as a leading forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance, the cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem between the end of the First World War and the middle of the 1930s including such seminal figures as James Baldwin and Langston Hughes.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR OLA INCE

Director Ola Ince returns to the Finborough Theatre where she has directed the world premiere of Chris Dunkley's The Soft of Her Palm and May Sumbwanyambe's Back Home Contemplation as part of The Papatango New Writing Festival; and was formerly a Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre, assisting on Fanta Orange and Blue Serge. Trained at Rose Bruford College in Theatre Directing. Direction includes Treading Air (Bush Theatre), HOT (Invertigo at the Hightide Festival), A Piece of Cake (Tristan Bates Theatre), Pets Corner (Arcola Theatre), One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (The Clare Theatre at The Young Vic), and Games (Pleasance London). Assistant Direction includes Porgy and Bess (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), A Taste of Honey (National Theatre), Josephine and I (Bush Theatre), Wild Swans and Disco Pigs (The Young Vic) and Secret Thoughts and The Demolition Man (Octagon Theatre, Bolton).

ABOUT THE CAST

Adelayo Adedayo | Rachel Loving

Trained at Identity Drama School.
Theatre includes The Dead Wait (Park Theatre).
Film includes Jet Trash, London Fields, Gone Too Far and Sket.

Television includes Viva in the BBC Three Comedy Some Girls, Law and Order: UK, Skins, MI High, Meet the Bandaiis and The Bill.

Sheila Atim | Mrs Lane

Trained at Weekend Arts College.
Theatre includes The Lightning Child  (Globe Theatre), Ghost Town (Pilot Theatre (Tour)) and Klook's Last Stand (Park Theatre). 

Sheila is also a musician, songwriter and composer.

Miquel Brown | Mrs Loving

Trained at Ladre Ballet Academy, Seattle, and RADA.
Theatre includes Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios), The Amen Corner (National Theatre), Reflection Day (Theatre503), Menopause - The Musical (Shaw Theatre and National Tour), Stamping Shouting and Singing Home (Polka Theatre), Stepping Out (Theatre Royal Lincoln), Showboat (Royal Albert Hall), A Streetcar Named Desire (National Theatre Studio), Purlie (Bridewell Theatre), Blues In the Night (National Tour), Mardi Gras (Prince of Wales Theatre) and the original London cast of Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens (King's Head Theatre and Criterion Theatre).
Film includes Woman In Gold, Locked In, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, The Successor, An American Haunting, French Kiss, Superman and Soloman and Sheba.
Television includes 9/11: The Twin Towers, Casualty and Wit.

Nakay Kpaka | Tom Loving

Trained at Drama Centre.
Theatre includes Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe).
Television includes Broadchurch, Grantchester, Whitechapel and Headspace.

Zephryn Taitte | John Strong

Theatre includes The Man In The Green Jacket (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Jungle Book (Birmingham Stage Company), Sirens of Titan (London Bubble Theatre), The Island (Rose Bruford College), The Unfortunate Love of the British Empire (Sketchbook), The Tempest (Ovalhouse), The Crucible (Talawa at The Drill Hall) and Romeo and Juliet (Ovalhouse).
Film includes Dirty Money, The Tempest, Disorder, Dark Stranger, Flash Mob and 187 Days.
Television includes Brothers with No Game (Winner of Screen Nation’s Digital-iS Favourite Actor Award 2013), The Hour and 60 Secs.

Kaylah Black | Ethel Lane

Training at Sylvia Young Theatre School. This is Kaylah’s stage debut.

Lexyn Boahen | Ethel Lane

Training at Stagecoach Tooting and The Lion King Cub Camp.
Theatre includes Peter Pan (Wembley Arena), Oliver!, Frozen, Little Shop of Horrors and Hairspray (Stagecoach).

Joel McDermott | Jimmy Mason

Training at D&B Theatre School.
Theatre includes Medea (National Theatre).

William Wright-Neblett | Jimmy Mason

Training at the New London Performing Arts Centre and The Place Dance Centre.
Theatre includes Messiah (London Coliseum) and The Lion King (UK and Ireland tour).
Film includes PAN.
Television includes Scaredycat and Little White Lies.

THE PRESS ON DIRECTOR OLA INCE'S PRODUCTION OF THE SOFT OF HER PALM AT THE FINBOROUGH THEATRE

“The production is simple, slick and invasive, it will unsettle you and make you think, what more do you want from a night at the theatre.” The Good Review

“The stage direction was impeccable in delivering these scenes with disturbing conviction.” Everything Theatre “The production is well paced and continuity between the scenes is neatly and seamlessly achieved under Ola Ince’s direction.” One Stop Arts

“Skilfully directed by Ola Ince with an excellent cast.” UKTheatre

TICKETS AND TIMES

Tuesday, 30 September – Saturday, 25 October 2014

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from second week of the run).

Performance Length: TBC.

30 September - 12 October 2014

Tickets £16, £14 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £12 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (30 September and 1 October) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on first Saturday of the run when booked online only.

14 - 25 October 2014

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here

PLEASE NOTE THAT LATECOMERS CANNOT BE ADMITTED AND TICKETS CANNOT BE EXCHANGED OR REFUNDED.

Directed by Ola Ince

Designed by Alex Marker

Lighting by Elliot Griggs

Costume Design by Anna Lewis

Sound by Max Pappenheim

Casting by Axa Hynes

Presented by Aidan Grounds and Hannah Groombridge for ABG Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

ADELAYO ADEDAYO

SHEILA ATIM

KAYLAH BLACK

LEXYN BOAHEN

MIQUEL BROWN

NAKAY KPAKA

JOEL MCDERMOTT

ZEPHRYN TAITTE

WILLIAM WRIGHT-NEBLETT