Mauritius, 16

The Convert was beautifully written by Diana Gurira and directed by Ola Ince. As I sat in my seat, I really liked my view and the staging because it was in a 360 degrees format where everyone could see the setting and the characters’ interactions. According to the play’s context itself, I enjoyed the 1896 Zimbabwean setting as the play reflected themes of African culture, colonialism, sacrifice, religion versus tradition/rituals and much more! Linking to African culture, the use of clothing and the Zimbabwean native language, Shona, was extremely interesting. This is because not only English was spoken; the actors also had to learn Shona from scratch to pursue the play which made it even more unique and impressive. Colonialism was displayed as characters such as Chilford, Chancellor and Prudence who all spoke English as well as adopting a posh persona. I found this interesting as Chilford was forceful for Esther to speak formally, despite him having errors in his own English. This hypercritical behaviour, used to appear as close to British culture as possible, presents him as naïve because, as an audience member, I knew that he would never actually be accepted due to the failure of his language, status and his ethnicity too. A scene that I liked which correlated to the theme of sacrifice was when Esther sacrifices her missionary’s teachings to become herself again. The realisation of her self-worth was really heart-warming. As she sang her church song in Shona, it really reflected herself as a talented African woman, as she expressed her feelings wholeheartedly. Lastly, tradition/rituals were displayed when Mai Tamba was completing her native rituals within the household. I found this scene absorbing because her repeated actions of sniffing and mumbling were quite unknown and questionable, leaving me intrigued. Overall The Convert was extremely entertaining and I loved every part of the experience from the staging to the props to the wonderful actors! I would definitely watch it a second time!