Out of the Margins

15 SEPTEMBER 2023 - 06 OCTOBER 2023
Barbershop Chronicles 2. Annotations 3. Headshot 1. Cover
Barbershop Chronicles
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13. Inua Ellams

Barber Shop Chronicles

Barber Shop Chronicles 
Signed and annotated 
First edition paperback 
21.1 x 12.9 cm 
London: Oberon, 2017

ESTIMATE


£1,000 - 10,000

This auction has now ended

Out of the Margins (13/55)

Notes


“Did I write this play or just capture it?” 

Listed as one of The Sunday Times' "Greatest plays of all time" and The Guardian's "50 best theatre shows of the 21st century”, Inua Ellams’s Barber Shop Chronicles is a non-stop whirlwind tour of barber shops, shacks and stalls in London and Africa. A hair-raising tour de force of a play, it’s been one of the big theatre moments of the last ten years, and so we were delighted when Inua Ellams agreed to take part in the Out of the Margins auction. 

Moments from the playwright’s life experiences have made it into this extensively annotated first edition. Inua comments on the characters’ personalities, with playful insider knowledge. He gives the lucky successful buyer of this lot a real knowledge fest: find out how many cows your love is worth in Uganda!, discover the playwright’s own haircut of choice (OK, it’s “a gorimapa”!), read about a deleted scene set in Kenya. At times funny, at times incredibly moving, Inua has provided detailed notes on the play’s origins and the research trips he undertook for it over a six month period, and the people he met who formed the basis for the characters. 

Inua’s affection for his characters shines through: “I love these guys, I think of them as the two musketeers or tweedl-dum & tweedl-dee”. There are connections to his other work throughout: for example, Three Sisters expands on a brief mention of Federal Government Colleges which banned indigenous language; he writes about how some cut sections made it into a poem. There are notes throughout on how deep homosexuality runs throughout the play with many queer characters who are closeted to varying degrees and the hostile context in many African countries. There are some very personal notes: he named a character after a woman he was dating at the time and discusses his own experiences of racism. 

Witness the workings of a writer who, project by project, keeps getting even higher than the top of his game. This is a rare treat, and a real insight.

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