Posted on 05/02/2010
Described by ‘The Times’ as “striking” and full of “flair and feeling”, Rex Obano’s first full-length play ‘Slaves’ is showing at Theatre503 in Battersea until February 20.
Rex, who is studying an MA in Feature Film Screenwriting at Royal Holloway, University of London, drew inspiration from his time working as a prison guard. Set in HMP Wandsworth, the play looks at prison life through the eyes of people on both sides of the bars.
Rex explains, “I wanted to accurately depict and convey the feelings I had when I worked in a prison. My experience was that the prisoners seemed freer than the people who worked there. To me this revealed the blurring between inmate and worker, and I chose to hang these feelings on a story that was the truest representation of the death of life experienced on the inside. I wanted to ignite the debate between rehabilitation and reformation and examine the fear that leads us to incarcerate – a fear that makes slaves of us all.”
Rex was selected from 200 of the country’s most promising new voices to receive Theatre503’s first commissioning award. He and four other unproduced playwrights will write plays throughout the year to be developed and produced at the theatre.
He says studying at Royal Holloway has been extremely beneficial: “Apart from learning loads, my writing has become more focused because I am writing assignments every week. We get to listen to many renowned guest speakers and I am lucky to be part of such an inspiring group of writers and producers.”
Since the play’s opening at the end of last month, Rex has had a great reaction and has attracted a wide-range of fans. “Some ex-prisoners came to see it last week and they said it was an accurate portrayal of prison life. That meant a lot to me,” he said.
As for the future, Rex says he will continue writing for stage, radio and television and then hopefully for film. His is a name certainly worth remembering.
To find out more about the MA in Feature Film Screenwriting visit http://www.rhul.ac.uk/media-arts/courses/maffs.shtml
‘Slaves’ continues at the Theatre 503, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 until 20 February 2010.
Tickets are £14/ £9 concessions (including Royal Holloway students); Tuesdays are Pay What You Can.
To book call 0207 978 7040 or visit www.theatre503.com