Firstly, I have learnt a very important lesson- NEVER underestimate the seat number on your theatre ticket because it might just be the best seat ever. At first when I was given my ticket by Yasmin, (because she booked it), I was a bit heartbroken. Why? Because I could not just sit anywhere amongst the seats that were booked, I had to sit in the seat that corresponded with my seat number (or letter for that matter). I considered swapping my ticket with someone else so that I could sit in a seat I thought of as ‘good’, and still be sitting next to my friends. But instead, I mentally shrugged my shoulders and found my seat, which I now believe, is the best seat in the entire theatre. You are probably wondering why I disliked the seat so much at first…it was because the initial set of the play was a four walled translucent box covering the stage, and I happen to have a seat that was directly facing the corner of this box. However, once the walls were raised, I realised that I could see everything from the third person, omniscient point of view. In addition, the ‘in the round’ stage set up, also contributed to one of the most prominent themes of the play, Christianity and Religion, because we believe that God is the most-high and can see everything that happens on Earth.
“ It has really given me a new perspective on British colonialism. Honestly, I would see it again.”
I had initially thought that The Convert referred to the main character, Jekesai/Esther because the beginning scene, showed her new master, Chilford, converting her from what is sometimes referred to as ‘pagan rituals’, to Catholicism. From the very beginning, as the audience or ‘Gods’ – as you may like to put it – we could tell that Chilford is a very religious man as when his converted house maid does not do as he likes, he said, ‘You’re not taking your salvation very seriously.’ However, despite his religious traits he also presents himself as very inferior to ‘the whites’, the British colonisers on Zimbabwean soil, as he says to Jekesai ‘he is a white, so you must never correct him.’ This shows his understanding of his inferiority to ‘the whites’ and the fact that he’s trying to please them all the time. However, his poor grammar reiterates the point that he will never be like them, no matter how hard he tries. Chilford transitions from a very hard and belligerent man, to a humble character, in the scene right at the end, where he kneels down with Jekesai, singing a song in their native language, a language of Zimbabwe called Shona. This WAs a very significant moment for Chilford as throughout the pay he was ashamed of speaking in Shona because he wanted to impress ‘the whites’ by speaking in English. It could be said that Chilford exemplifies the effect of the British religious and linguistic colonialism; Prudence even refers to him as a ‘European in African costume’. I believe that the title The Convert refers not just about the character played by Letitia Wright but also Chilford.
The Convert is by far, the one of the best theatre performances I have ever seen, despite the fact that I do not really go to the theatre. After that night, and after seeing all the talent that London had on that stage, I am really going to invest some time into going to the theatre and seeing more plays, because it is honestly fun and helps get my ideas flowing. The themes, ideas and emotions were communicated so well to the audience and even made me shed a few tears, (right at the end though), when Jekesai knew that the whites were coming to kill her because of what she had done. What really broke me was when she said, with tears, ‘our blood came out the same’, because it showed how the Zimbabweans really thought that they were inferior to ‘the whites’, without having been given a valuable reason as to why the colonisers were actually superior. It has really given me a new perspective on British colonialism. Honestly, I would even see it again.