red button theatre and film workers' co-operative

Forum & Community Theatre, Issue Based & Workshops.

BRICKSTOWN

 

By

Dafydd Williams

A two hander for two young black actors.

1 Male:Mij  1 Female:Fee (early 20s)

The music ‘Young Gifted & Black’ Bob & Marcia

Simple set of old fashioned packing crates, tea chests to give the impression of the 1970s

 

Mij: I’d rather be old, talentless and white

Fee: Again?

Mij: Young, gifted and black, there’s too many of us, it’s too competitive a marketplace.

Fee: You been smoking?

Mij: Are you stereotyping?

Mij: There’s been a wicket in the cricket. Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, the West Indies team of the 1970s

Fee: Why can’t you just have an ordinary, normal conversation? Why does everything have to be a pronouncement or announcement? You are not Martin Luther KingJr

Mij: How do you know? You don’t believe in re-incarnation?

Fee: He was good looking.

Mij: I can’t help being ugly no more than you can help…..

Fi: Yes?

Mij: No, nothing

Fee: No come on, no more than I can help…

Mij: I’ve forgotten

Fee: You’re not ugly

Mij: And you don’t have a big booty

Fee throws anything and everything to hand at Mij. He pretends that he is a West Indies cricketer in the slips and dives for everything.  He lies on the floor panting and looks up and smiles at Fee who has stood up and is smoothing down her clothes.

Fee: I will see you at Nandos, at 5.30pm and you are paying.  

Mij  waves to Fee and continues to lie on the floor, looks up at the audience

My Dad remembers going to see the Great West Indies team of the 1970s. He went with his Dad to the Oval.  When he visits he goes through the names of the whole team. I know them off by heart and I checked on Wikipedia cos dats how I did my homework all through school. What made me think and what makes me think today is the word colony above their island of origin. Brixton was the West Indies first and last colony and now dem wanting it back. 

Mij reads out the West Indies Roll Call of Honour from 1976 emphasising the word Colony almost shocked himself at the word. (perhaps slips in Slavery Colony towards the end)

Wayne Wendell Daniel  Colony Barbados 20 Right Arm Fast

Thaddeus Michael Findlay Colony Windward Islands 32 Reserve Wicket Keeper

Roy Clifton Fredericks Colony Guyana 33 Left Handed Batsman (opener)

Hilary Angelo Gomes Colony Trinidad and Tobago 22 Left Handed Batsman

Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge Colony Barbados 25 Right Handed Batsman (opener)

Vanburn Alonzo Holder Colony Barbados 30 Right Arm Fast Medium

Michael Anthony Holding Colony Jamaica 22 Right Arm Fast

Bernard Denis Julien Colony Trinidad and Tobago 26 Left Arm Fast Medium

Raphick Rasif Jumadeen Colony Trinidad and Tobago 28 Slow Left Armer

Alvin Isaac Kallicharran Colony Guyana 27 Left Handed Batsman

Collis Llewellyn King Colony Barbados 24 Right Handed Batsman/Right Arm Fast Medium

Clive Hubert Lloyd Colony Guyana 31 Left Handed Batsman (captain)

Deryck Lance Murray Colony Trinidad and Tobago 33 Wicket Keeper (vice captain)

Albert Leroy Padmore Colony Barbados 29 Off Break

Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards Colony Leeward Islands 24 Right Handed Batsman

Anderson Montgomery Everton Roberts Colony Leeward Islands 25 Right Arm Fast

Lawrence George Rowe Colony Jamaica 27 Right Handed Batsman

That West Indies Team and those Maroon Caps with the Palm Tree , that is my heritage. Clive Lloyd looked like my Grandad. Wikipedia: says“His avuncular, bespectacled appearance and a stoop near the shoulders masked the fact that he was a very fine fielder, especially in the covers, and a devastating stroke player. Lloyd's first assignment was the tour of India in 1974–75. West Indies won the first two Tests comfortably.” Well no Lambeth is my heritage, Brixton or Brickstown as it is being called now. My Dad laughs at the fact that cricket was the only thing that we could beat the white man in, that and dancing. I got the moves man.

M pulls out a tea chest/packing case. 

If it wasn’t cricket, it was dominoes, that was how my GranDad learnt to count and give the change as a conductor. Knock, Knock! What ya mean you can’t go! If you can’t go, then  I win…..again. He had a wonderful laugh Grandad. There was more laughter then, Dad says, but I think old people talk like that all the time. If the pair of them could see Brickstown now, they are pulling it down brick by 1970s brick and rebuilding it. I mean I don’t particularly mind. Progress. I would like to stay but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to afford to stay.

Mij quotes again with relish

Wikipedia Quote “Next came a tour of England in 1976. In a TV interview before the series, English captain Tony Greig commented that the West Indies tend to do badly under pressure and that "we'll make them grovel". This comment, especially as it came from a South African-born player, touched a raw nerve of the West Indians. West Indian bowler, Michael Holding recalled how the comment “Smacked of racism and Apartheid. The West Indies batsman Viv Richards remarked “In other words, he was going to have us down on our knees, begging for mercy! This was the greatest motivating speech the England captain could have given to any West Indian team.”  Throughout the series, the English batsmen were subjected to some very hostile bowling. After the first two Tests ended in draws, West Indies won the next three. Of the many heroes for West Indies, Richards stood out with 829 runs in four Tests. He hit 232 at Trent Bridge and 291 at the Oval. Greenidge scored three hundreds, two of which were on the difficult wicket at Old Trafford.

Roberts and Holding shared 55 wickets between them, Holding's 8 for 92 and 6 for 57 on the unhelpful wicket at the Oval being a superlative effort.” My Dad and Grandad were there.

Nandos Come Nandos Go (Sings to the music Freedom Come Freedom Go by the Fortunes)

Did you get what you wanted?

Fee: What did I want?

Mij: I don’t know

Fee: I probably got it.

Mij: That’s the trouble with you, you don’t know what you want.

Fee: I do, I want you.

Pause. A look between them

Mij: Shall we order?

Fee: I’ve ordered

Mij: Forget the chicken just bring me a bowl of peri peri sauce and some nachos.

Fee: We going to have to make plans.

Mij: Man, we are both 23, what plans do we need to make?

Fee: Where we going to live?

Mij: I can’t leave my mother.

Fee: What if I fall pregnant?

Mij: You won’t fall, I’ll catch you like Clive Lloyd in the slips.

Fee: You need me, you know that, to support you.

Mij: I don’t need you to fence me in you know. I need my freedom.

Fee: You will not survive without me. I’ve known you all my life. 

Mij: You got quite a bit of life left sweetheart

Fee: You better not forget my Valentines Card this year. I kill you.

Mij: Then you have nobody to live with.

Fee: So how is your mother?

Mij: Not so good.

Fee: Tell me.

Mij: She only 55 man, she showing signs of losing it. She talking to herself in the kitchen all the time as if somebody else was in there with her.

Fee: Maybe there is

Mij: The area is changing so much man, it’s crazy for her.

Fee: This town is going like Brickstown. Why don’t we call it it what it is? Social Cleansing

Mij: Well you did History, not me. You know what you talking about. Live and let live is what I say.

Fee: But they are not letting us live are they? Why should I be forced out of an area that I love and where all my support networks are? I'm fortunate that I have a great relationship with my mum and that we can co-exist without too much tension but I'd love to live in a space of my own design and establish my own identity. I'm 22 now and I need that. Sometimes, I think living at home reduces me to a teenage girl again.

Schools here have been bulldozed to make way for gated communities. Austerity is a word that landlords cannot even spell as they raise rents whenever they contemplate building a villa in Barbados.

Mij: I know sweets, we can’t blame the white man for this one! Our own people are selling out. But you know what is going to happen if we do stay here don’t you?

Fee: What?

Mij: Were going to lose our sense of humour.

Food Arrives: Lights Down

Voice through a Loudspeaker

All over London communities are at war with developers who promise they can make life better. But a better life is always more expensive and it is often ethnic minorities who are priced out - gentrification has become a threat to Brixton's multicultural community. 

Mij: The kitchen floods and the balcony floods and there's damp. She says they  have probably stopped maintaining the building because they want to pull it down  but the regeneration project has made things worse. All the drilling made her kitchen cabinet fall off the wall; she showed me the pile of broken plates which she keeps in a plastic bag on the balcony. We gonna have to move. I don’t mind moving. I’ll go to Camberwell or Streatham

Fee: It’s the principle of the thing. Dem moaning about immigrants and we were damn immigrants first. So dem didn’t want us here in the first place and now dem damn same people are coming back fey us.

Mij: Listen sweets we can’t afford to have principles. Our parents generation maybe, our Grandparents definitely.

Fee: So what you saying is, if we move and find a place your Mother comes too?

Mij: And your mother. Look Trump is in the White House. Nowhere is safe and no woman is safe. The simple truth is we can’t afford to stay here.

Fee: Why don’t you work harder?

SILENCE

Mij: Did you see that Cactus and Tumbleweed? Say what?

Fee: Why don’t you work harder? Not in work, not in college, but here in the community. The community where your Dad and Grandad lived and even though they were hassled, they were happy. Why are you so happy to sell up and sell out? Brixton lives matter! Black lives matter! You’re leaving it to the women and its just not fair.

M slips to his knees.

You know that’s why I don’t want to live with you and be with you! Because I am a coward and you are going to hurt my pride on a daily basis. I am a 23 year old coward and I am ashamed. You do not deserve me sweets! You deserve better!

Fee: You’re not getting out of it that easy. You and me are a team. A team since primary school. We are young  gifted and black and we’ve still got our sense of humour.  Don’t take everything so personal! I could have been talking about all your friends. We need to wise up! Boy Girl, Man Woman, Father Mother.

Mij: We need another planning meeting?

Fee:  At Nandos?

Mij: Where else?

Nandos

Mij: What about a game of cricket?

Fee: I don’t play cricket.

Mij: Not you, between an old Brixton XI v nu Brickstown. Something to bring the two sides together. They could be talking at tea

Fee: You’ll be wanting me and the mothers to make that tea?

Mij: You could play if you want to? Bat or Ball?

Fee: I don’t see the point.

Mij: It’s a friendly thing. Don’t forget Mohandas Mahatma Ghandi ‘An eye for an eye and everyone is blind’

Fee: So a game a of damn cricket is going to allow us to stay and live in Brixton?

Mij: It might do, you don’t know who will be playing for the opposition. There could be some movers and shakers. There is good and bad everywhere. We just got to separate the wheat from the chaff as Grandad used to say.

Fee: We could get the media there?

Mij: We could get some celebrities there?

Fee: We could slip a little something Railton Rd into their Tea!

Mij: We could get Nandos to make the food.

Fee: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Mij: And Donald Trump, don’t forget Donald Trump.

The Original BBC Test Match Cricket Theme Song-Soul Limbo

Mij: Hello and Welcome to the Kennington Oval for this very important game between Old 1970s Brixton and nu gentrified, socially cleansed Brickstown. We are delighted to have some of the greats from the 1970s West Indies Team, the Global Force of Domination. Clive Hubert Lloyd, Oval: Brixton, England or OBE is Captain for the old Brixton team. And next to him is my Dad.

Hi Dad!

Music plays: Victory Calypso- Cricket Lovely Circket

I would now like to hand over to my co-commentator Fee who will take you through to tea.

Fee: Surrey Cricket Club have kindly lent us for one day their ground as a Fundraiser. All money collected through the turnstiles today will go to local West Indian and Caribbean youth to set up small businesses. People will be coming round with buckets, please give generously. Nandos have made the tea and whatever the result of today’s cricket, we want you to go home to Brixton, to stay and to make it a vibrant, multicultural community again.

Music plays: Cricket Champions by Lord Kitchener

Back at the Packing Crates and Tea Chests 

Fee: Young, Gifted and Black I don’t think so

Mij: We tried Fee, we tried!

Fee: They won!

Mij: They won the cricket but they haven’t won the war. We made a lot of money.

Fee: I know (jumping up and down excitedly)

Mij: Happy Now?

Fee: We need advice on how to invest the money

Mij: We go to ask the people who beat us at the cricket 

Fee: are you mad?

Mij: Live and let live Fee

Fee: we’ll get advice from our own

Mij: If you do that, they’ll be using it plan for their retirement in the sun. We’ll get scammed.

Fee: It still don’t answer the question of what we’re going to do!

Mij: I’m going to try and get a job in radio. I really enjoyed commentating on that game.

Fee: A community radio station……

Mij: Yeeeeees

Fee: Bringing both sides together, the gentrifiers and the gentrified.

Mij: Radio Brickstown, pulling de bricks down and rebuilding community!

Fee: So we moving in together?

Mij: Did I work hard enough?

Fee: You’ve set a high standard now

Mij: You know what the best part of the day for me was?

Fee shakes her head                                        

Mij: When Dad introduced Clive Lloyd to Mam. It was almost as if she was a young girl in the 1970s again. She spoke clearly and properly as if her memory had come back. As Dad said “When the West Indian team left in 1976 they left a different black community behind.”

Fee: That's when all the Bacardi rum bottles the coca cola cans all the crowd came onto the Oval.  My mam made me very proud carrying the bucket through the crowd.

Mij: And how they both sat down together for the game and helped with the Tea?

Fee: So the answer is …….

Mij: The answer is……you kept your sense of humour. It’s all we got Fee, it’s all we got.

Music: Game of Love & Unity (SHAGGY/ Rupee/ Faye-Ann)

The End

 

Red Button

Dixie Dickenson

Red Button Theatre began at the University of Glamorgan after the Artistic Director Dafydd Williams began planning with Keith 'Dixie' Dickenson for a Theatre Movement that would give voice to the underdog, to those on the fringes of mainstream society.

After the success of 'Catharsis' at the University of Glamorgan, the new company comprising Dixie, Richard Lewis and Alex Shaw began working on different projects. We have worked with Alan Osborne on realising his Oratorio 'This is the Day' at the Myfanwy Theatre, Merthyr Tydfil and our most recent work has been the acclaimed 'Lost Souls' Laundrette/Golchfa'r Golledig' which was staged at the Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre in August 2010.

In 2016, our focus concentrates on 'Theatre for Mental Health', we will be workshopping and improvising with Mental Health Service Users across Wales and the UK and those who self identify as sufferring with anxiety and depression and other Mental Health Conditions, to perform work which already has Mental Health as its theme as well as new work which we hope will offer fresh focus and challenge the stigma associated with Mental Ill-Health.


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