Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten – J. Nicole Brooks

Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten was delightful surprise at the end of this collection. Delightful might not be quite the right word, as the major theme is a protracted military action between the people and the government in Liberia…to clarify by ‘delightful’ I mean pleasingly entertaining. In this case I was entertained, once again, in spite of some techniques and tropes which at a minimum make me squirm uncomfortably, and at worst make me scoff.

There is more griot/tribal leader mysticism/wisdom. There is a glut of provocative character names which rarely make it into the text so I’m not entirely sure what the value is to the reader or the viewer. There is a unit of absolutely badass women who are clearly the leaders in this fight, but are also in some ways caricatures, which takes a way a bit from their power. Finally, this is a huge play! Think dance numbers and pyrotechnics. I’m not kidding it’s all in the notes and stage directions. Still I would probably go see it if it was on. Get your snacks though. And if you’re inclined a tipple at the interval probably wouldn’t go amiss.

Cast: Multi. There are approximately 30 roles. The script notes call for doubling by all but two characters (1F 1 M) and the production notes give a cast of 12 (2 dedicated roles, 10 doublers). Run Time: 84 pp. 110 minutes? Themes: African conflicts between the state and the people; civilian military activism; women’s rights and equal status in society; the Western world’s perception of African conflicts.

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