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New family drama set in Deptford explores racism, poverty and brotherhood
Step back in time to 1982.
London is restless, gripped by spiralling unemployment and inner city riots - and a council flat in Deptford is about to become the scene of an emotional family drama.
Two mixed race brothers, Onochie and Chima, have been reunited unexpectedly.
One has been in prison for manslaughter and the other has become a skinhead, deciding he no longer wants to be black.
Notions of family and belonging are put to the test when a pack of hostile neighbours gather outside to deliver some rough justice.
God’s Property, by former EastEnders actor Arinze Kene, is an exciting new play which is bound to get teenagers fascinated with theatre.
It premieres, befittingly, at The Albany in Deptford on February 20.
Michael Buffong, director, told Vibe: “The language drew me to the play.
“Our actors just eat it all up.
“I think it’s all about identity, loyalty, family and about relationships.
“It’s very fresh, fast-moving and funny – it’s incredibly unexpected and really quite ‘wow, how did we get here?’ “It’s brilliant, and I’m not just saying that.”
Michael is the artistic director of Talawa Theatre Company, which is putting on the production.
He added: “This is something the company has never done before, looking at being black and a skin head.
“The brother who has been in prison (Chima) finds it devastating to see, especially knowing the reason he’s been put away.
“He’s come back home to take care of his brother, but Onochie hates him because he’s black – it’s kind of tragic.”
Writer Arinze Kene was one of the inaugural Soho Six in 2011 - a selected group of authors who are commissioned for six months to work on a new play for Soho Theatre.
During his residency, Arinze wrote God’s Property.
Among many other triumphs, he was named most promising playwright by Off West End.com for his debut play Estate Walls.
Michael continued: “The writer’s fantastic.
“He is Mr Shiny – he’s done fantastically well.
“He is a real talent.
“Everyone around me keeps telling me how lucky I am to be working with him.
“I’m sure he’s feeling quite happy too.”
God’s Property was set in Deptford after Arinze was influenced by the film Babylon, set in south London.
“That’s where he feels his story happens.” Michael said.
“You could say there’s a particular vibe there, something that feels different to other parts of London.
“There’s a notion of identity that’s very prevalent.”
Catch God’s Property at The Albany between February 20 and February 23 before it moves to Soho.