Does the piece land as well live as it does on the page?Perhaps not, and certain moments definitely feel more like oration than performance, but it remains as relevant as ever.In the first chapter, Kincaid describes the picture-perfect beauty of her country and juxtaposes the island’s beauty to the not-so-pretty issues everyday citizens endure.
For example – for years, the Chinese have been mining gold in Ghana illegally (locally referred to as ‘Galamsey’) to the point where most of our water bodies (like River Pra & River Ankobra in the ) within the country are contaminated with mercury and other toxic metals.
While the current administration is trying to put a halt to the illegal mining, allegedly, previous administrations were benefitting from the illegal act. Supermarkets, coffee shops/restaurants, various corporations and even land, are owned by foreigners.
Adapted for the stage by Anna Himali Howard (who also directs) alongside Season Butler, the live adaptation preserves the vast majority of Kincaid's original, embellished by the neat tricks of Camilla Clarke's staging yet never losing its cutting edge or relevance.
Though described as an essay, Kincaid's piece has some brilliantly poetic, charged imagery – tourists are directly labelled 'a nice blob just sitting like a boob in your amniotic sack of the modern experience'.
The sustained control, never overstated until needs be, is palpable.
At one point while speaking Skeete unravels a loom of red cotton, getting audience members to hold it, like tracing pins, shipping routes on a map.
Initially imagining a hypothetical Western (' North American, or worse, European') tourist arriving on the island, Kincaid whimsically embarks on an attack on Western prejudices and how all the novelties of a touristic experience mask neo-colonial realities hidden beneath them.
The essay slowly transitions, just like the temperature in the room, from cosier hypothetical to cold hard facts – explicitly calling out the modern day corruption in Antigua in the aftermath of colonial occupation.
Reading Kincaid lament over the corruption and misappropriation of Antiguan government funds felt all too familiar to me.
and mimics the SAME issues we face in Ghana as well.