Wind / Rush Generation(s) By Mojisola Adebayo
Wind / Rush Generation(s)
By Mojisola Adebayo
This is a play about the British Isles, its past and its present. Set in a senior common room, in a prominent university, a group of 1st year undergraduates are troubled, not by the weight of their workload, but by a ‘noisy’ ghost. So they do what any group self-respecting and intelligent university students would do in such a situation – they get out the Ouija Board to confront their spiritual irritant and lay them to rest – only to be confronted by the full weight of Britain’s colonial past – in all its gory glory.
Wind / Rush Generation(s) is a hurricane of moments, histories and styles. It incorporates physical theatre, spoken-word, absurdism, poetry and direct address. It offers the opportunity to whip along with the grace, pace and hypnotic magnetism of a hurricane, and is especially pertinent for the urgent conversations happening across the country. It was commissioned by National Theatre connections in 2020, and a production by Royal & Derngate Young Company can be found on YouTube. We spoke to playwright Mojisola Adebayo.
The play takes place over hundreds of years of history, how did you choose what to focus on in a 50 minute play?
I was really fascinated with the name 'Windrush' and I started playing with the word, exploring wind and rush and all of the words that could connect to these words such as wind farm, windfall, sugar rush, gun rush... It was like a game. Then I tried to connect these words to points in Black British history and this enabled me to focus on specific events.
The play features naturalism, poetry, direct address and moments for physical theatre, why was it important to offer a variety of styles across the play?
It felt really important to offer youth theatres a range of approaches to work with. I used to be a youth theatre director and some of the most pleasure I have had is working with young people with companies such as Pegasus in Oxford, Half Moon in London and at Dublin Youth Theatre. Young people come with all kinds of different strengths, passions, talents and interests. I wanted to offer directors and youth theatre members lots of possibilities for young people to play to their strengths. So there's something in Wind / Rush Generation(s) hopefully for everybody - from physical theatre movers to spoken word smiths to naturalistic actors to comedy players... Moreover, I wanted performers to have a chance to stretch their skills perhaps with new forms of performing that they had not engaged in before.
At the centre of the play is the story of the ouija board and summoning the ghost of the Empire Windrush. Is there an extra layer of meaning to a spirit of the past haunting the present?
Yes! Britain is haunted by racism and we must let those locked up ghosts out, face our fears, face ourselves, exorcise racism and be free from it! And I am talking about anti-black racism specifically, white supremacist racism, that is part of our history, a huge part. It is a murderous history, a history of theft and violence and we have got to deal with it. There is nothing to be proud of in the Empire. Britannia does not rule the waves. We've got to exorcise those demons if we are to become a mature and healthy society.
The play’s topics are incredibly urgent to contemporary Britain. What advice would you give a Youth Theatre director for approaching and unpacking the violent, raw and political content with
I have put some notes in the script on how to deal with the 'N' word and how to deal with the painful issues in the play so my advice would be to read those notes and take on board the advice. There is also much fun and pleasure in the play and there are lots of notes about this too!