‘We have a race problem in England’

‘We have a race problem in England’

The Voice
London, England

Hazelann Williams

Arinze Kene says he does not do politics. But for anyone who has seen one of Kene’s plays, it may sound like an unusual statement because the prolific playwright has written many plays about the state of society, ranging from life on a housing estate to African perceptions on Christianity. Yet, Kene says his plays are not political, they are humanistic.

“I’m not a political person, my plays always cover issues that people may say are political, but I’m tackling issues from the human perspective, from where it affects people personally. I can’t shun politics because I live on planet Earth but when I can I try to avoid it, because I don’t understand it. It gets me worked up and gets me stressed out and stress is the enemy,” confessed the 25-year-old.

In his latest play, God’s Property, Kene takes the audience back in time to the restless streets of Deptford, south London in the early 1980s, as estranged mixed race brothers Chima (Kinsley Ben-Adir) and Onochie (Ash Hunter) are unexpectedly reunited.

Not only covering the spiraling youth unemployment, inner city riots and economic downturn of the Eighties, the writer also is exploring the very divisive issue of race and where mixed race people stand in society. And although the Little Baby Jesus author tried to stay away from the political aspect of race he had to admit that, like 30 years ago, the UK still has a racial problem…

…“I know that some mixed raced people feel black, some feel mixed race and I thought I would explore that. It is still relevant, I don’t think discussing race is overdone, if you looked at the amount of time Great Expectations has been done and re-done, I don’t get bored of a good story and I don’t think this issue has been explored anywhere near enough as most. I think I am tapping into something that has not been explored enough,” said Kene…

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