Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Ear For Eye (Theatre Review) Ear For Eye (Theatre Review)
Ear For Eye (Theatre Review)

Did you know that 26% of the people that died at the hand of police were from the Black community (even though they only make up 12.7% of the population) or that in the UK there were 4 stop and searches for every 1,000 White person, compared with 29 stop and searches for every 1,000 Black person?


These are the harsh racial injustices happening here and across the Atlantic that Debbie Tucker Green’s new play ‘Ear for Eye’ simply but deceptively powerfully illustrates.


Broken into three parts, this two hour captivating watch highlights similarities in the racial maltreatment and oppression faced by Black people in the UK and America.


The play opens with a mother coaching her son on hand and body language when facing the barrel of a police gun. Comical as the scene is, it drives home the reality that any ‘gesture’ no matter how slight or inoffensive could have fatal consequences.


There then follows a series of dialogues in which topics such as the benefits of marching, the achievements of the Black Lives Matters Movement, what constitutes ‘change’ and is a violence a legitimate method for achieving the ‘Black Cause’ were explored.


There, however laid the strength and weakness of this production. In many scenes the dialogue was hard to comprehend and the American accents below par. The acting was laboured, with too much repetitive dialogue. An interval break would definitely would have been a well-received respite. This was an unfortunate omission from the programme.


This format continued into the second ‘act’ which centred on a discussion between a young black woman and what can only be described as a white right winged ‘apologist’ man about a mass shooting in which some black children died.


The arguments about the blameworthiness of the shooters came thick and fast and here’s where Tucker Green’s writing became laboured and unconvincing as she scene after scene tried to ram home her point of view. I longed for an end and found thoughts drifting away.


The epilogue cleverly used a mix of white young and old people to read and contrast the ridiculousness of the Jim Crowe Laws the barbaric British Slave Codes of 1661 where a slave could be put to death for stealing a sheep. The intention of this novel device was in mind to show culpability of the white masses in the perpetuation indirectly of slavery then, and racial injustices today.


Ear for Eye is a long, engrossing and illuminating watch. It is an urgent audit of the present day inequalities heaped on black people. It’s a story that needs telling and its message that not much has changed has been emphatically expressed in this production.


Ear For Eye, 25 Oct-24 Nov, Royal Court Theatre, SW1W 8AS Tickets and further information: https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/ear-for-eye/

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