Boujie at the Drayton Arms
Actor and writer Hassan Govia’s debut play about social climbing and status disapproval highlights the contradictions that ensue when friends move up in the world, examining our perceptions of materialism and superficial caste symbols as they relate to social life.
Govia is co-founder of the theatre group Unshaded Arts, created in 2018 with a mission of producing theatre that focuses on peripheral groups within universal themes. Here he spotlights the middle-class black community and how it is perceived by those less advantaged and more “street”.
Up-and-coming entertainment writer Devin flaunts his newfound wealth with a party at his recently acquired luxury flat. All is well until some old friends crash his soirée and accuse him of being fake and too “boujie”. Slang for bourgeois, this is a disparaging term indicating pretentiousness and obsession with money, flashy possessions and upward mobility.
Interestingly, the scenario takes place in a post-Brexit London, implying perhaps that leaving the EU will lead the city even further away from social equity and toward greater capitalist excess. Examining issues such as career and financial demands, hierarchy and community loyalty, the work takes a humorous look at worldly aspirations and hypocrisy. How do we define ourselves within conflicting cultural expectations? What is more important: material success or friendship? What is success: money, “bling”, fast living, popularity? The questions posed are classic conundrums that have prevailed throughout history and within every culture and nationality. That the complexities of life create multiple needs and desires – which can frequently conflict – means that we will forever seek to balance and reconcile them.
With a diverse cast, the characterisations in this piece are admirable. Combining great, spirited writing and terrific actors, the show unfolds as a dynamic, very enjoyable farce; a kind of hip London meets Molière. Smart and thought-provoking, Boujie is a vivacious, entertaining comedy with a clever, tongue-in-cheek angle on the foibles of human nature in the face of ambition.
Photo: Alessa Davison
Boujie is at the Drayton Arms from 20th November until 8th December 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.