Errol John wrote Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (1958) after becoming disillusioned about the lack of good roles for black actors on the British theatre scene. While this situation has only slightly improved since, his response has become the most revived black play in Britain, from its original production at the Royal Court in 1958, to the National Theatre in 2012. It depicts the lives of a black community living in poverty in a shared tenement yard in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the mid-1940s, showing how each of the characters carries dreams of escaping to create better lives for themselves and their families.
Lynette Goddard focuses on how the play articulates the narratives of migration that prompted many Caribbean people to uproot from their homes on the islands and move to the England in the post-war era. For some of them, these dreams of a new life became a reality, but they were experienced differently across genders and generations.
Table of Contents
1. Frontlines and Backyards: The Post-War Caribbean Yard Play 2. Migration Stories: Island Lives, Hopes, Dreams, and Escapes 3. Text and Character: Gender and Generation 4. Production Histories: Staging, Directing and Reviewing 5. A Caribbean Classic? Bibliography
Lynette Goddard is a Reader in Black Theatre and Performance in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.