Theater Preview: THE BARBERSHOP CHRONICLES (Freud Playhouse at UCLA)

Post image for Theater Preview: THE BARBERSHOP CHRONICLES (Freud Playhouse at UCLA)

by Jim Allen on October 10, 2018

in Theater-Los Angeles,Tours

Newsroom, political platform, local hot spot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world. They talk, argue, unwind and, of course, get their hair cut. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.

For one weekend only, CAP UCLA is presenting Barber Shop Chronicles, the acclaimed play by Nigerian-born, UK-based poet and playwright Inua Ellams that explores male identity and the challenges of citizenship. The West Coast Premiere plays Friday–Sunday, October 26–28, 2018 at the Freud Playhouse on the UCLA campus.

The wholly original story — inspired by the playwright’s own experiences as an immigrant — follows the conversations and concerns of a group of African men as they interact in six different barbershops in London, Lagos, Johannesburg, Accra, Kampala, and Harare. The work is a co-production of Britain’s Fuel and National Theatres, and West Yorkshire Playhouse, and was originally commissioned by the National Theatre, an institution that shares CAP UCLA’s interest in stimulating, socially relevant works.

Directed by Bijan Sheibani, Barber Shop Chronicles explores the diversity of black male identity and the legacy of colonialism through the rituals and verbal banter of the urban barbershop. A mastery of humor, pace, and wit, the story takes place over a single day as characters, jokes, and plotlines traverse continents and cultures. The all-male cast riffs on both personal and political topics, from family dynamics and race relations, to views about fatherhood and masculinity. Music and dance knit together the individual episodes in this fast-paced production.

The play, which stars Tuwaine Barrett, Elliot Edusah, Maynard Eziashi, Alhaji Fofana, Bayo Gbadomsi, Solomon Israel, Patrice Naiambana, Anthony Ofoegbu, Kenneth Omole, Ekow Quartey, Jo Servi and David Webber, tours the U.S. for the first time this season after a series of sold-out, critically acclaimed runs in London.

photos by Marc Brenner

Barber Shop Chronicles
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance
a co-production of Fuel, National Theatre
and West Yorkshire Playhouse
Freud Playhouse at Macgowan Hall, UCLA
245 Charles E. Young Dr. E
Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 8
Friday, October 19, 2018 at 8
Saturday, October 18, 2018 at 8
for tickets ($29–$59), call 310.825.2101
or visit CAP UCLA

Leave a Comment