Through September 11
THE ADVENTURES OF THE BLACK GIRL IN HER SEARCH FOR GOD Court House Theatre/Shaw Festival
George Bernard Shaw attacked organized religion with his novella “The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God” and Lisa Codrington has expanded it for a new play under the aegis of the Shaw Festival, using Shaw’s title.
Shaw himself shows up this production in the festival’s long-time Lunch Time Theatre series.
The story is an attack on the missionaries who spread across Africa spreading the Gospel, in what was always called “Darkest Africa.”
Only Brits could ignore their own climate to call some other place “darkest.”
Although it may reflect Shaw’s Victorian time, the script really only deals with Christian missionaries and not with the Muslim missionaries who were spreading their religion in many of the same areas at the same time.
That shows up in today’s religious struggles across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Designer Camellia Koo built her set around a giant Bible which is the center of the story and the center of the action torn apart as the relatively short play continues.
After all, isn’t the Bible the center of the religion?
Carrying on her quest to understand the world, Black Girl (Natasha Mumba) meets a string of important people, like the Lord of Hosts (Guy Bannerman) and The Almighty (Graeme Somerville), along with biblical characters like King Solomon (Ben Sanders) or Micah the Morasthite (Sanders) and the disturbed missionary (Tara Rosling) or the Black Bearer (André Sills) who is doing all of the work on a White safari.
Clearly Codrington is both trying to study white colonialism and the Christian religion generally.
It’s both funny and penetrating, in the short dose of the Lunch Time show.
With some tight directing from Ravi Jain and Koo’s interesting set, “The Adventures of the Black Girl in her Search for God” is worth leaving for Niagara-on-the-Lake a little earlier to catch this morning show and then spend some lunch time talking about the issues Shaw and Codrington are talking about.
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