Interview With… Samia Djilli

The playwright chatted to Emma Clarendon about bringing her play Different Sand to London’s Bunker Theatre.

What is Different Sand about? Different Sand is about two English-Algerian sisters, Linda and Amira, and is a snapshot into their lives as they face some pretty big changes…or at least what feels like big changes. When Amira decides she wants to marry a nice Algerian man, Linda
is slightly confused about where she fits into Amira’s life now. The story covers a lot of themes, it’s a London story, an Algerian/Maghrebi, it’s a
mixed race story, but most of all it’s about sisters.

How do you feel about being part of bringing Different Sand to The Bunker? Bringing Different Sand to The Bunker has been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work, but it’s extremely rewarding. There has never been a play about being British-Algerian on a London stage before and as someone from that community, it can make the arts feel distant at times. However, Different Sand will be the first all Algerian team working on a piece of theatre that we can relate to culturally, and that’s the most exciting thing about the process.

What made you want to write the play? I think it really just came from a desire to see myself and my community being represented in the arts. When I started writing, my characters were always Algerian
because that’s what I knew, and they weren’t necessarily an archetype of an Algerian person, rather they just were Algerian. I found out quite quickly that there were no British-Algerian plays, or any source materials I could turn to, and that really frustrated me. Writing Different Sand came from that desire and frustration, but it mainly came from my relationship with my sister, and how our cultural identity affects
our relationship in positive and negative ways.

How would you describe the play? I guess if you had to put it in a sentence, you’d say it’s a story about sisters whose cultural identity plays a crucial role in the changes they are now facing day to day.

What can we expect from this production? Lots of laughs hopefully. As much as the subject matter carries with it more serious
themes, it’s a comedy at its core. I think you’ll also come out of it having found out a bit more of what it means to be Algerian, even more so, what it means to be a mixed race Algerian woman, and all the nuances that come along with that.

By Emma Clarendon

Different Sand will play at the Bunker Theatre from the 8th to the 16th September.

%d bloggers like this: