Black Theatre Live


The Slave

East of West Theatre Company in association with The Alchemist present the European premiere of

A shockingly honest and unapologetic psychological morality tale. An examination of tension between black and white in contemporary America.

The play is set in a family home in 1960’s America, against the backdrop of a race-war that can be heard outside. It focusses on Walker Vessels (an African-American man), Grace (his white ex-wife) and Easley (Grace’s white husband). Walker uses the chaos of the war outside to drunkenly break into Grace and Easley’s home, brandishing a gun and insisting that the children he has with Grace should be removed from the home and brought up by someone who shares their heritage. But, the children share both black and white heritage and their cries from the bedrooms upstairs highlight the descending chaos both downstairs and outside. It’s a play about equality and identity as tensions run high and the characters argue where the children belong and which community is best to raise them in.

“One truth anyone reading these pieces ought to get is the sense of movement—the struggle, in myself, to understand where and who I am.” LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka)

“Baraka crafts a deeply conflicted character in Vessels, whose internal war matches the mayhem he’s unleashed on the streets.”

It is a “psychological morality tale blending realism, political allegory and the Theatre of Cruelty.”