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The Fishermen

Jack McNamara in conversation with Chigozie Obioma recorded by HOME via FacebookLIVE

JACK McNAMARA ON STAGING THE FISHERMEN
Chigozie Obiama was just 29 when his debut novel about brothers torn apart by a prophecy was published in 2015. The book was a global success, announcing him as a major new voice on the international literary scene. As soon as I read it I saw glimpses of a play. Yet given what hot property the book was, I never expected its celebrated young author to be so receptive and generous to a touring theatre company on the other side of the word wanting to turn it into a stage play.

From the beginning, the vision for the play differed considerably from the book. Whilst the novel is a family saga populated by many characters, the play boils the action down to just two people. We still meet the other characters, but only through the prism of two brothers who have lived through the story. I am fascinated with the idea that siblings hold traces of their wider family within them. An encounter between siblings can become a confrontation with one’s parents or other siblings; a notion that gives this play its particular dramatic engine.

Gbolahan Obisesan has dived into the novel and found the play its own voice. Gbolahan grew up in Nigeria until the age of ten, which is also the age of the book’s protagonist. He knows this world intimately and has captured its language in all its idiosyncrasy.

Our rehearsal room has been a place of complete collaboration, with two actors, Michael Ajao and Valentine Olukoga, building the show with myself and Associate Director, Angharad Jones, from the ground up. We hope our distilled stage version captures the true spirit of the book and draws out its dramatic core. The dark story of the Agwu family has been an exciting place to live and we are delighted to be able to finally bring it to audiences, live for the first time.
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Award-winning Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma calls his debut novel The Fishermen "an Igbo version of a tragedy." Meet the author and hear about his modern day metaphor of "the paradox that is Nigeria."

Welcome

New Perspectives is an East Midlands based national touring theatre company, with a specialty in creating dynamic performances for rural audiences. We make ambitious and original theatre, focusing on new writing, adaptations and revivals, which we present in community settings and venues nationally and internationally. We provide career defining training and mentoring opportunities for emerging regional talent and manage the rural touring scheme Northants Touring Arts . 


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