Ola Ince directs Danai Gurira’s play, The Convert at the Young Vic. The play stars the well-known actor Letitia Wright, who has featured in TV-hit Black Mirror and Hollywood’s Black Panther.
Set 1896 in Mashonaland, today known as Zimbabwe, a young girl Jekesai (Letitia Wright) accepts to be converted to Catholicism by Black African missionary and priest Chilford (Paapa Essiedu) to escape a forced marriage. As Jekesai, now named Esther, begins her new life, she must learn to navigate and assimilate to her new faith, language and culture and renounce any old ties to her previous identity. Yet, as civil unrest between the native people and the white British colonisers grows more and more violent, Esther comes to realise the true price of her salvation. Having rejected all she once was, she realises that she will never be accepted by the whites, which ultimately leads her to commit a vengeful act. The Convert is a tragic tale of the destructive effects of colonialism, the hypocrisy of religion and the loss of one’s self.