Moreno review – Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take the knee causes ripples

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to start taking the knee during the national anthem playout at NFL games in 2016 shook the world of American football.

The birth of his activism gives the backdrop to Pravin Wilkins’ Theatre503 international playwriting award-winning play. News of Kaepernick’s protest ripples through the locker room and on to the field. それでも, Chicano star running back Luis Moreno (Sebastián Capitán Viveros) is more bothered by his growing fame and fortune than engaging with a “wokeness fashion statement”. That is until the popularity of Donald Trump’s electoral campaign results in his mother’s taco shop being graffitied with the slur “Build the wall”, when he, あまりにも, feels compelled to make a public revolt in support of his community.

Wilkins’ play morphs into a nuanced analysis of different ethnic minorities’ experiences of racism. As Luis’ anger spills out in a camera-flashing press conference, the team’s politically minded defender Ezekiel (Joseph Black) wonders why it has taken him so long to find his voice. “This protest has been going on for months,” Ezekiel presses, “now you want to insert yourself right in the middle?” Questions are raised over the right time and space to make a stand, and astute perspective comes as Ezekiel considers how to get “mythical conscientious white folk” on side.

But it takes a while to get here. The play’s first half is bloated by marathon set-up scenes that do little to push the pace. Much of the early drama feels like filler and the attempted stylised execution doesn’t come off. There is a sense of stagnation to Nancy Medina’s direction, あまりにも. Long pauses are favoured as a technique to build tension. An initially comical moment where the youngest team member, Cre’von (Hayden Mclean), frustratingly packs his bag is stretched so far the audience’s laughs mutate into silence. A pity, as it sucks the vitality that is needed to keep the script moving.

それにもかかわらず, this is a commendable debut. Carried by a sprightly cast, Wilkins’ writing feels fresh in its focus on racism in sport. He is an emerging talent we can expect to climb the ranks.