The National Theatre has announced plans to reopen in late October with a bold new work that explores the relationship between nationality and ethnicity.
Although the venue has not yet set a date for reopening, it has revealed details of what it hopes will be its first live production following lockdown – Roy Williams and Clint Dyer’s Delroy.
A one man monologue about race set in the Britain of 2020, the production captures a portrait of its protagonist Delroy as he struggles to cope with feelings of alienation as a black man in the United Kingdom. “How British am I as a black man?” he asks at one point.
The production is the follow up to Williams and Dyer’s Death of England, which examined national identity through the prism of football and popular culture.
Delroy takes up where that earlier play left off with the title character (a middle aged black man called Delroy) tries to cope with feelings of inadequacy in British society.
These feelings have clearly been heightened by Delroy’s friendship with Micheal, the white British protagonist of the first play. At one point during the first play Micheal says: “You may act like us and talk like us, but you will never be one of us.”
The two plays touch on issues that both writers say they have experienced in their own personal lives. Dyer has said in the past that being black and British has given him the feeling of being both “an insider and an outsider” and Williams has confessed to being scarred by the thought of never fitting in to British society.
The new production has been described as ‘explosive’ by the director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris. “I’m thrilled to be reopening our theatre with such an important and timely piece of work.’ he added.
The one man production will star Olivier award winning actor Giles Terera, who starred as Aaron Burr in the phenomenally successful musical Hamilton. Terera won the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in the show, which has been wowing crowds in London every night since it opened in the West End in 2017.
More information about Death Of England: Delroy can be found here.
For information on other great theatre productions in London, please click here.