What are the themes of your play?
The main themes of Go Back Home! are identity, family and an exploration of what “home” means for the diaspora.
Why did you write it and why now?
I wrote Go Back Home! in the summer after I graduated from university – it was the first summer during the Covid-19 pandemic, so I had a lot of time sitting around at home to fill… While I was at university, my grandad moved to a nursing home as a result of his dementia, so the play was a way for me to process that, as well as my experiences at a university with a majority white student body.
This original draft of Go Back Home! had a strong core, but was fairly narratively simplistic. So, this summer, I returned to the play and rewrote it, really trying to experiment with form to tell a story which I feel greater interrogates the themes at the centre of the play.
Which playwrights are you influenced by and in what way?
I was first inspired to write plays after reading the works of debbie tucker green – I was inspired by the rhythm, poeticism and energy of her language – and watching Inua Ellams’ Barber Shop Chronicles at the Roundhouse. I still hope to one day write a play like Barber Shop Chronicles which really feels like an interrogative, yet uplifting, communal experience.
When rewriting Go Back Home!, I was initially influenced by Michael Gilkes’ Couvade and A Pleasant Career – thanks to Peepal Tree Press, I was able to read plays by this Guyanese playwright. I learnt a lot from Gilkes’ discussion of race in the Guyanese context in Couvade, and was inspired by his merging of realism with dream visions and mythology in both plays.
Aleshea Harris’s Is God Is also really inspired me to focus on story – to take the audience on an exciting journey, rather than just having people in a room talking. And Arinze Kene’s Misty inspired me to experiment with expressionist ways of exploring themes.
What do you want to achieve as a playwright?
As a playwright, I aim to keep challenging myself to experiment with writing in different forms, genres and structures, and with creating theatre for different spaces in which actors can have different relationships with the audience.
My constant aim as a playwright is to connect with people – whether that be with audiences, or to collaborate with a community of artists that can mutually inspire each other.