Nothing's Ever Black & White - Partition
Phil Hopkins, Theatre & Travel Correspondent
Nick Ahad's Partition tells the story of young love blighted by parental bitterness, personal experience and religious prejudice.
Saima and Ranjit are happy, at least they should be because it's their wedding day. But Mez Galaria's Saima is having second thoughts, not because she doesn't love Ranjit (Darren Kuppan), but because she knows he's a Sikh and she's a Muslim.
Which is fine when you are both brought up in the UK but, when your parents and grandparents have each endured the horrors of the 1947 partition of British India and subsequent creation of two independent dominions - India and Pakistan - the furrow does not run quite as straight.
Between one and two million people are said to have died in the bloody horrors that ran hand in hand with partition, and the reprisals are still being felt today as warring ancestors advise their children and grandchildren against marrying his or her 'type'. The 'type' of course is a euphemism for 'wrong religion', leaving many young Asians prisoners to their parents' and grandparents' experiences.
But Partition is not just a play for Asians, it is a play for everyman for it also speaks to Catholics and Protestants, Celtic and Rangers, black and white; anyone with an axe to grind against another 'type' of person that does not run with the perceived established tribe.
My staunch Catholic mother talked of a childhood in which it was deemed a mortal sin to enter any church other than a Catholic one, some Castleford kids are still taught to hate the strike breaking 'scabs' of the 70's and 80's, even though they are barely out of their teens. We are all taught to be suspicious of the 'others', even worse, to hate them.
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I thoroughly enjoyed director, Stefan Escreet's production and am sorry that it has such a limited run, for it has immense educational value and should be allowed to speak to and inform everyone, black and white. You cannot masquerade the past but you can teach and educate people to move on so that they do not bequeath poison to the next generation.
Partition supports that process.
Originally begun as a radio play, this unique collaboration between BBC Radio Leeds and West Yorkshire Playhouse, effectively saw a radio play brought to the stage complete with newsreaders, microphones, Foley sound effects and actors holding scripts as if they were in a studio.
This was an engaging production and top marks to Nick Ahad for delivering a first-class piece of theatre, clearly the result of him drawing on a subject dear to his heart.
Nothing's Ever Black & White - Partition, 9th September 2017, 12:10 PM