So debbie tucker green (sic) doesn’t like capitals, not sure why, but I like it and it makes her stand out. As does her play, hang at the royal court theatre. I took my seventeen year-old mentee who loves the theatre and is a fan of Wicked, The Lion King and all the rest of the musicals.
Being a fan of Ms tucker green, I wanted my mentee Khalifa to see a play by a black woman, starring a black woman. I was riding high on my wave of telling Khalifa about how important it is to support black women in the arts as we are so under-represented and while that is of course true, hang is not about a black woman being the main character in a play written by a black woman. It is about a victim being given the right to decide the fate of her perpetrator. The victim is the ferocious Marianne Jean Baptiste who portrayed this character right through to her fingertips as she does in any part she is given (playing Doreen Lawrence in The Murder of Stephen Lawrence is only just one example). I’m not entirely certain what was behind the casting, with the hope that it was only to do with the strength of Jean-Baptiste’s portrayal. hang seems timeless and era-less with the three name-less characters (the victim and two victim support types) spending the seventy minutes talking about a crime someone did to Jean Baptiste’s protagonist and giving her the ultimate choice of how this person should die. All we know in hang is that the crime was awful, ripping apart a family and the perpetrator wrote a letter but we never know the crime or what is in the letter. For some – this proved to be irritating with little pay off at the end. To my mentee, she found it thrilling and edge of your seat stuff. She didn’t care about the hows and the whys. She had never seen a play set in one space, with the characters barely moving, with little props and no singing.
To me, it was an interesting ride. I did want to know the hows and whys but you knew the method of capital punishment the protagonist chose to go for seemed to give her some type of closure, but it was that letter. What was in the letter..?