Anansi – Year 7 & 8 Production

16 May 2022

Anansi 2 Insta

Last week, Year 7 and Year 8 took to the stage in a vibrant and ingenious staging of ‘Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage’. An ensemble of 60 students brought the classic folklore stories of Western Africa to life, with lively characters and delightful dance routines performed by the whole cast. The production offered thought-provoking moments of real poignancy, as the story followed the historic injustice of the Middle Passage.

The play tells the story of an African mother and daughter who are kidnapped and sold into slavery. In prison, and then on a slave ship, the mother calms her daughter Shontay by telling stories about Anansi. When they arrive in America as slaves, Shontay takes comfort in the stories which provide her with wisdom from her homeland and courage for the next part of her journey. The Middle School cast performed these moments with commendable sensitivity and maturity.

North London Collegiate School has a thriving Afro-Caribbean Society who were thrilled to assist with the design of the show. The cast wore dashiki and traditional West African prints, along with animal headpieces inspired by ‘The Lion King’. The character of Anansi was cleverly staged with three actors in the role. The students moved synchronously, working impressively as a team to capture his craftiness with silken choric choreography.

The stories of Kwaku Anansi paint the heroic spider as a loveable trickster, who uses his wit and cunning to outsmart even the most formidable opponents. The performance began with Anansi winning all the stories in the world from Nyame, the omnipotent sky god. Anansi entices the audience, ‘Make your mind rich with stories’ and proceeds to share several of his most memorable adventures. The evening saw the audience transported high into the clouds and deep underwater, as Anansi spun his tales, such as when the tiny Hare sets out to prove to Elephant and Hippo that appearances can be deceiving- despite her small size she is the strongest animal in the bush.

The cast gave superbly spirited comic turns as the animals; from the ever-hungry vultures to the vain python, the audience were treated to wonderfully characterful performances which made for an enchanting production.

Congratulations to the cast and crew, who captured the spirit of these cherished stories in a highly memorable evening with a powerful message about the resilience of the human spirit.