The play ‘good dog’, by Arinzé Kene, is at Salisbury Playhouse in March. Valley News talked to Natalie Ibu, Director of tiata fahodzi, to find out more.
“The play started with a desire by playwright, Arinzé Kene, to imagine what drove his friends and his community to riot – in London,” said Natalie.
“’good dog’ is an astonishingly written monologue following a 13-year-old boy – our narrator – over many years. It’s about community, about growing up in a multicultural borough, about trauma, and about what happens when you lose faith in being good.
“I think, ultimately, it’s a celebration of the resilience of people.
“The play goes back to the early noughties, but rather than feel nostalgic, it feels vital, as we face similarly difficult times – when the UK’s ethnic and class divides have rarely felt as wide.
“The narrator is a little black boy who slips through the cracks, but this ability to go unnoticed gives him a privileged panoramic point of view. Boys like this are often a victim of quiet neglect; they don’t have a voice, don’t get attention. but not in good dog. It’s about faith, about growing up, about being a boy and being a man, about survival and resilience.
“Tiata Fahodzi is producing the play and is committed to telling stories about the African diaspora in Britain. We’re particularly interested in exploring the mixed experience because Britain is full of people – whether African heritage or not – who feel in the middle, a bit of everything and yet somehow nothing at all.
“’good dog’ is a great example of a tiata fahodzi play because it places the African heritage person at the heart of the story but is actually about really complex identity politics we all share. In ‘good dog’, we meet an Indian middle-aged shopkeeper, a Caribbean father and son, gangs of multicultural boys and girls, Jamaican hairdresser, a Ghanian uncle, a Nigerian single mother, a mixed race girl – and yet they share so much – they share place and are all part of each other’s experience of being British.”
good dog, by Arinze Kene.
A Tiata Fahodzi and Tara Finney Production in association with Watford Palace Theatre.
The Salberg, Salisbury Playhouse, March14-16