Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Expensive S**t – Interview with playwright Expensive S**t – Interview with playwright
Expensive S**t – Interview with playwright

An all female Black cast star in the Fringe First award winning play full of wry humour and euphoric dance. Splicing the story of the Shimmy club – prosecuted in 2013 for allowing male patrons to watch the women’s toilets through a ‘spy mirror’ – with flashbacks to the infamous Shrine nightclub in 1980s Lagos, this is an Afrobeat-filled exploration of freedom, power and exploitation.


‘An important truth told with formidable force through dance, music and fast-moving dialogue.’
★★★★ Scotsman

‘A heart-rending and twisted, yet laugh-out-loud funny triumph’. ★★★★★ To Do List


Where: Soho Theatre, W1D 3NE  When: April 4 @ 7:00 pm – April 21 @ 10:30 pm

For ticket prices, times and full details click here.


Below is an extract of an interview by ‘Whats On Stage’ with the director  Adura Onashile.


What is Expensive Shit about?
It’s set in two toilets. The first is in a Glasgow nightclub in 2013 and the second in Fela Kuti’s Shrine nightclub in 1994 in Lagos. There’s a central character, the toilet attendant Tolu, who takes us into her past at the Shrine nightclub where she was aspiring to be a dancer in Fela Kuti’s band. Her and her fellow dancers practise their routines in the toilets before they go onto the main floor.


So it looks at some of the people who lived around Fela Kuti?
Yes. Especially the women. Women would turn up at his commune Kalakuta because the life that was presented to them seemed better than the alternative. I wanted to talk about the way his movement treated women and the fact that he was a man who was an absolute revolutionary in terms of anti-colonialism and anti-corruption, but that just didn’t translate to women.


So the Glasgow nightclub is a different scenario?
Yes, but in the toilet in Glasgow women are still objectified. It’s based on a true story of a club that allowed men to pay for the privilege of watching women in the toilet through a two way mirror. I was fascinated by what this said about a society that’s supposedly more equal than Africa.


You wrote the play and it is also your directorial debut. Did you know you wanted to direct it when you wrote it?
Yes and no. I have always wanted to direct and I thought if I don’t do it, no one will give me the chance to do it. But I think there’s something exciting about getting a director to work on your piece. You have a contrast of perspectives and it’s in that dynamic that the show gets created. So I was really pleased when the Traverse provided dramaturgical support.


Has both directing and writing it meant it’s been an even more nerve wracking experience?
It’s been liberating, but I have found out what all experienced directors know: there comes a point where you have to let go of the piece. There’s a pressure, doing a directorial debut at the Fringe, and at the Traverse, trust me. Some days I have woken up and thought – nononono – and then talked myself down and said: ‘It will be what it will be’. It’s been a really exciting process and I’m really proud of the team we have got together.


You started as a dancer, then became an actor, what made you want to create your own work?
It began when I came to Glasgow six years ago. I just loved the scope of the theatre I was seeing in Scotland. The experimentation the fearlessness, the kindness to making mistakes. It’s kinder up here and it has been a creative home for me.


Read the full interview here.
Where: Soho Theatre, W1D 3NE  When: April 4 @ 7:00 pm – April 21 @ 10:30 pm

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