HARDSHIPS AND HOPE
New play dives into complexities of migration
When Swallows Cry explores the effects of migration from an African perspective
The theatre is dark until spotlights flicker on two screens on the walls. An Afrobeat tune starts playing. Another spotlight suddenly brings a man into focus — a middle-aged black man coming down the theatre stairs, carrying an AK-47. He is humming to the music. Without the weapon he carries, the audience might have loved his melody. As the man reaches the front, the stage is suddenly and fully lit up and we are confronted by a scary sight — two other menacing men, one holding a pistol, his eyes fixed on a chained white man. The white man, we are told, is a Canadian in Nigeria who teaches at a village school. He has been kidnapped by the pistol-wielding man, who goes by the name of Soldier. To the outside world, Soldier is an insurgent, but in his impoverished village surrounded by mines operated by foreign companies, he is an activist seeking justice for his people — just like his handler wielding the AK-47. The locals want to benefit from the mineral wealth and believe their gover...