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THE CONVERT OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: January 13, 2012
Synopsis: Set amid the colonial scramble for southern Africa in 1895, The Convert tells the tale of Jekesai, a young girl who escapes from a forced marriage by becoming the newest convert of a well-meaning black catechist for the Catholic Church. When a civil uprising against colonial white rule disrupts their lessons, the girl and her teacher must find their place in a new world order that threatens their heritage, history, and faith. Prodigiously talented playwright Danai Gurira (Eclipsed and In the Continuum) has written an unflinching, startling, and compelling new play, filled with humor and compassion.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"PRINCETON, N.J. — The frightened young heroine of “The Convert,” an ambitious and mostly absorbing new play by Danai Gurira having its premiere at the McCarter Theater Center here, finds Jesus in a quick flash. "
"Danai Gurira is a name most of us are not familiar with, however, just wait...she happens to be an extraordinary actress and award winning playwright who was born in Iowa and raised in her parents' native Zimbabwe (you will find her impressive bio at the end of this piece). On stage at the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Center in Princeton is her latest play. In fact, it is the world premiere of the play The Convert, directed by the McCarter's treasure, Emily Mann."
"There's nothing wrong with Danai Gurira's new drama The Convert, now at Princeton's McCarter Theatre, about the clash of indigenous and imposed religions in developing South Africa at the end of the 19th Century. But some judicious trimming of the three-act work would make it even more tough-minded. "
"In Danai Gurira’s powerful and gripping new play set in 1895,’96,’97 in the region of South Africa that had recently been officially named Southern Rhodesia, an exceptionally bright, beautiful young African woman Jekesai (Pascale Armand) suddenly finds herself removed from a traditional life-style and thrust into a maelstrom of conflicting, life-changing conundrums. Now at the McCarter Theater where it is on the first leg of its three-theater rolling world premiere (going next to the Goodman Theater in Chicago and then to the Kirk Douglas Theater, part of the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles), The Convert is an impressive example of potent dramatic literature as any you are likely to experience this year. "
"The Convert, an ambitious and promising play by Danai Gurira is set in the colonial city of Salisbury, Rhodesia (present day Harare, Zimbabwe) in the late 19th Century (1895-1897) during a period of sustained rebellion against the British South Africa Company by the rival native Shona and Ndebele tribes. (A summary of the fascinating, complex historical background of The Convert is available on the McCarter Theatre website.)"
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