Review: The Half God of Rainfall, at Kiln Theatre
02 May, 2019 — By Angela Cobbinah
Kwami Odoom in The Half God of Rainfall. Photo: Dan Tsantilis
HIS amazing ability to fly through the air and “rain” spectacular slam dunks saw Michael Jordan crowned god of basketball more than once.
For Barber Shop Chronicles playwright Inua Ellams, this allusion to basketball players possessing divine powers became the starting point of his new drama, an ambitious, poetry-charged myth that sees Yoruba and Greek gods pitted against each other.
The battle is triggered by Demi, half god, half mortal as a result of his mother Modupe being raped by the god of gods Zeus. Demi turns out to be brilliant at basketball and becomes the national team’s star player.
Soon the Olympics are beckoning. Zeus, however, does not feel an ounce of fatherly pride, only anger. Cue thunder and lightning.
Modupe’s attempt to fight back with the help of Yoruba deities and also Hera, Zeus’s much-put-upon wife, leads to the final, mighty showdown, wherein lies the metaphor for both Africa’s and women’s liberation.
The epic tale is brilliantly depicted by Rakie Ayola and Kwami Odoom, as Modupe and Demi respectively, plus assorted gods. In a production bereft of any props, Jackie Shemesh’s lighting assumes a major role in illuminating the supernatural and mortal dramatics on stage. Together with the lofty verse, these can get a bit convoluted, so one has to pay attention.
Until May 17
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