Ella Seber-Rajan and Abraham Botha’s ‘Beyond the Sky’ follows the story of an inter-racial couple Lizzy Darcy and Delroy Thompson, as they navigate love and relationships in a period of rising tensions between black and white communities in 1960s London. Anna Bulcock shares her thoughts on the opening night of the play at the Nottingham New Theatre.
On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of sitting in the audience for the opening night of Beyond the Sky. The play, set in the summer of 1968, twenty years after the arrival of the first Windrush ship in Britain, was inspired by a real-life family tale and followed the most beautifully written script.
With the stage characterised cleverly by a split screen, separating Lizzie’s mother, Mary-Ann’s, salon and Delory’s mother, Winnie’s, Kitchen, the characters were on stage dressed in bold and bright 1960s inspired costumes from the moment we entered the auditorium.
the undeniable instant connection between the pair rippled right across the theatre
The play opens as Lizzie announces her engagement to long term boyfriend, Richard Durkee. Appearing far less impressed with the engagement than her excited mother and best friend Eloise, it soon becomes clear that Lizzie is deeply unhappy in her relationship. Whilst walking down the street with a bottle of Babycham ready to celebrate the engagement, Lizzie unexpectedly bumps into Delroy Thompson. The undeniable instant connection between the pair rippled right across the theatre as the characters were thrust into a moment of love at first sight.
As their relationship continued to blossom in secret, and their love grew ever stronger, Lizzie ends her engagement with Durkee and devotes herself entirely to Delroy. Caught sneaking around by both families, we watch uncomfortably as Lizzie and Delroy in separate halves of the stage, face resistance from their respective mothers. The pair tirelessly challenge those who question their love for one another, and determined that love will win, their romance continues to bloom.
Written so eloquently, and performed beautifully, I was left hooked on every word spoken whilst awash with every emotion felt by the characters. There is no doubt that Seber-Rajan and Botha have created an outstanding, eye opening, and thought-provoking piece of theatre here, which is also highly educational.
each and every character was extremely well developed in the script, and articulated brilliantly by the actors
Exploring the themes of racism and race relations in the 1960s, Beyond the Sky shed light on some of the despicable acts of racism which had occurred, and increased awareness within the audience of the struggles that the Windrush generation, and their families, had to endure.
Beyond the Sky was passionate, thought provoking and flawless. It tackled highly sensitive topics in an informative manner but still consistently reminded us about the beauty of falling in love, and the power that love has. Each and every character was extremely well developed in the script, and articulated brilliantly by the actors. This was enhanced by costumes and a set that were perfectly in keeping with the 1960s setting. This is definitely one to see!
Featured image courtesy of The Nottingham New Theatre via Facebook. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image courtesy of @beyondthesky.nnt via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.
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