Q&A with Inua Ellams
What are the themes of your play?
Masculinity, fatherhood, global village, relationships, language power dynamic, legacy, history, community, mental health, brotherhood, camaraderie, immigration, tribalism, politics, alcoholism, football!
Why did you write it and why now?
I wrote it because I saw that black men lacked safe spaces to be themselves in various echelons of British society and the negative mental health implications of that were deepening. I wrote because none of the depiction I saw of African men on British stages and screen did justice to those I met and knew. I wrote it for joy, for happiness, for recognition, for clarity.
Which playwrights are you influenced by and why?
I am more influenced by poets than I am by playwrights. The poets include: Roger Robinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Kwame Dawes, Kayo Chingonyi, Jay Bernard, John Keats, Pascal Petite, Kei Miller, Mona Arshi, Simon Armitage, Terrance Hayes, Safia Elhilo and more.
What do you want to achieve as a playwright?
The same thing I want to achieve as a poet; truth and beauty.