We chatted to Majid about directing Mamet Leigh’s Give Me the Sun at the Blue Elephant Theatre.
Hi Majid, could you explain what Give Me the Sun is about? Give Me the Sun deconstructs the relationship between a father and son who came to the UK from Egypt to live 14 years prior to the play beginning. Bashir, the son of Baba, has just turned 18 and finally feels ready to ask his Father the ‘dozens of questions’ that have been permeating his ‘nightmares’ for 14 years. What follows is a night of soul searching and recriminations that could last for the rest of their lives.
What were your first thoughts when you read the play? I identified with the feeling Bashir has of not belonging anywhere. Although I feel strongly connected to my country of birth (England), the moment I tell certain people my name that connection dims slightly. It isn’t necessarily the fault of the people I meet but I’ve always felt the sense of being ‘othered’, which can’t always be helped. On the other hand, it absolutely is the fault of the people I meet. To give an example, just the other night I met someone new and when I told them my name was Majid, they insisted on calling me Magic and asked me repeatedly to ‘do a magic trick’. The ignorance of what this can do to the person on the receiving end is astounding. And I’ve had that all of my life. Luckily I’ve made peace with a lot of my identity issues but still have a lot of exploring to do. Bashir is in the throes of a full blown crisis.
What can audiences expect from this production? They can expect a highly detailed performance from two fantastic actors. They are fully committed to the material and play their characters with a depth of emotion perfectly pitched for the Blue Elephant stage.
How has it been working on the production so far? I’ve had a wonderful experience. I feel very proud to lead a team of creatives mostly from Middle Eastern and North African backgrounds. Representation in the arts and fostering a sense of inclusivity is vital to my work as a creative. This is only strengthening with my early work as a director!
How does it feel to be bringing Give Me the Sun to the Blue Elephant Theatre? It’s such an intimate space which lends itself to the text. The audience will feel like flies on the wall of the drama and will be let in on the secret of these two characters’ lives. It’s a great first venue for a production I hope has future life. Mamet has written a great play.
By Emma Clarendon
Give Me the Sun continues to play at the Blue Elephant Theatre until the 30th July.