Review: Shadows, Theatro Technis

“If you ignore your history then you become a shadow” – Edmund, Shadows

Shadows, a new play from Carguil Lloyd George Webley and directed by the white American Kevin Michael Reed, is set in a prison cell with three very different men who have one thing in common, their ethnicity. However, how they react to their race is extremely different. Edmund sees it as extremely important and classifying and he tries to convince Chase to acknowledge and embrace his Jamaican roots that he feels are irrelevant and nominal. Balak is yet another story. He feels a profound connection to past racial abuse and the history of slavery, and is conscious of its legacy that still fuels the careers of white men today.

Why these men are in prison is a mystery to us at first, but it becomes apparent that none of them seem to be psychopathic, questioning the prejudice that surrounds our justice system; 15% of the UK prison population is black whilst only 2.2% of the country is black. This fact speaks to itself.

A key strength of this play is the way the relationships between the characters develop. There is a strong defensiveness in all of them that stops them being fully close. However, there is also a unique bond that develops between all of them as they seem to penetrate completely into each other’s insecurities and belief-systems, deconstructing them before our eyes; we hear facts about their families, their childhoods and their sex-lives.

A live camera is used effectively, projecting soliloquies on to the back wall, creating a profundity to these more epic moments that seem to transcend the walls of the prison that we are otherwise trapped in. Admittedly, there are moments when the storyline drags slightly and the structure of the play leaves something to be desired. The ending is slightly nonsensical and perhaps a little too overt and unnecessary. However, there is a strong emotional message that is conveyed effectively through the beauty of the language – that all of us are human and need to respect each other. We are all responsible for ourselves but are also inextricably linked not just to our family and friends, but also to society as a whole. We should think about the consequences and implications of our choices.

In all, Shadows is a moving display of superb acting in the lovely space that is Theatro Technis. It is adding another important voice to the ever-growing conversation on race and is certainly a complimentary contribution.

Shadows is playing at Theatro Technis until December 7 2017.

Photo: Theatro Technis

Alice Devoy

I am currently studying English at UCL. I write and direct plays and would love to work in theatre.

9 thoughts on “Review: Shadows, Theatro Technis

  • December 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm
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    I thought the play was amazing and one of the best plays I have seen throughout my life. The way they acted out the show, their actions, their emotions and the way it was all set out was absolutely stunning and except the fact that the show was awesome the humor and the jokes that was in the play was hilarious. The play got me thinking and sent out a message that we should be respectful to all skin colours and all the unique people. I highly recommend this play to anyone that is reading this. DH – Aged 14

  • December 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm
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    Shadows was a brilliant show to watch, it was acted out superbly and it showed the actors feelings and emotions. Other than that the show involved humor, sadness and mostly it showed life wouldn’t be easy if you looked at the world as white people just looking at a darker skin colour as dirt and incapable to work in the business industry. Also it taught me that we should be respective of other skin colours as individuals. I highly recommend others to go and watch it.
    KH. Age 13

  • December 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm
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    Shadows was amazing you could see the raw emotion in the actors’ face, it was astonishing I’ve never seen a play like it, it included challenged faced today and problems within the system. The play included humor that had the whole audience laughing. Shadows told me that no matter what background we come from or who we grew up with we need to respect and understand others. I urge anyone who’s reading this to go see the play trust me you wouldn’t want to miss it. – AC Aged 14

  • December 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm
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    My Review On ‘Shadows’

    ‘Don’t you realize our history is all we got left’.
    ‘If they take that from us then what are we ?’.
    ‘Just a bunch of shadows that they can walk all over’.
    Such a powerful play something that quite a few people can relate too.
    The play was amazing and I really enjoyed it. They had three sold out shows which to be quite honest isn’t a surprise because it was that amazing. The play really made you think and in some ways I think that everyone could at least relate to it in one way or another. It had a wide spectrum of emotions. Happy, sad, angry and the twist was really good. You get really attached to the characters that I cried at the end. The humor in the play was hilarious everyone in the audience was cracking up at every joke. The set was very interesting and there are a lot of details that you will understand later on in the story. It told quite a few messages including addressing racism and things in the justice system that work and that don’t work. Its sends a message that means. Don’t judge people by the color of their skin, or what they have done or what they think. Treat people as you would want to be treated, as a human being.

  • December 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm
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    My Review:Shadows
    The play was amazing, it has powerful meanings behind it. There were lots of emotions involved throughout the production. There was a lot of laughter and it covered things that are going on the right now in our society, for example racism, judging people just because of the colour of their skin. What really stood out for me was that Balak made the assumption that he needed to help others when really it was him that need saving. I could relate to that because I try to put others before myself. But would I really hurt, kill someone? I don’t know… RI – aged 13

  • December 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm
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    I think that the play was very good and I really liked the use of the soliloquies on the wall. I would recommend it to the public and my friends. I would rate it 10/10 even though the stage was small the acting made the stage huge. What I took away from the play was that people listen to things and until you find out the truth its all a lie. NT – aged 13

  • December 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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    Watching the ‘ Shadows ‘ performance was eye opening and inspiring. The Actors made the scenes look real as if it were actually happening. I have never seen anything like it before as it is something different. This was my first time going and I would definitely love to see another one of Carguil Lloyd George Webley’s plays again. Parts of the Scene such as when Balak wasn’t fitting in and when Ed got stabbed after doing the right thing made me emotional and engaged. The message I got from it is that no matter what colour you are you should not judge anyone, and you should treat everyone the same, also that killing is an option and you should never do it, no matter what. JU – Aged 14

  • December 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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    Watching the “Shadows” performance left a deep impact on how I visualize the struggles of racism as well as finding individual cultures. It made me feel as if I was in their minds whilst they suffer physically as well as mentally. I would definitely recommend this play as the actors used up the stage with their motions as well as the emotions.

  • December 18, 2017 at 1:59 pm
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    Not only that, I love the way the play transferred into soliloquies, duologues, monologues as it just enhanced the way in which the characters felt. As a result, I felt that I could understand the hurt that they suffer. This quote “Just a bunch of shadows that they can walk all over” made me emphasize towards the characters.

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