"...a play of culture shocks and culture clashes, has you reexamining the everyday pattern's of the America you take for granted....
many flashes of radiance but a subtle through-line"
Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer, InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
"McCullough uses the characters' relationships with Ater to explore such big themes as cultural imperialism, the persistence of ritual and the human cost of both social isolation and the need to belong." The Old Globe, San Diego, CA; James Hebert, San Diego Union Tribune.
Abu Ansari as "Ater," Chicago Dramatists 2005, directed by Russ Tutterow, photo by
SINCE AFRICA chronicles the relationship between a Dinka refugee from Southern Sudan and three Americans — a North Shore socialite, her daughter, and an African American Deacon — who help him acclimate to Chicago's unfamiliar urban surroundings.
A look at American culture through the eyes of an African, this play explores the tensions between blacks and whites, Africans and African-Americans, the devout and the non-religious.
As Ater tries to navigate this new world, the Dinka refugee is confounded by American's self-centered nature and our ideas of art and ritual. Just when he thinks he is finding his place here, a letter arrives with news of his family in Africa and it sends him into an emotional tailspin.
Meanwhile the Deacon's inability to connect with this refugee forces him to question his own identity as an African and as an American. The socialite's misconceptions and romantic notions about Africa are turned on end. Both she and her daughter, still reeling from the recent loss of their husband/father, have a difficult time processing their own private tragedy when faced with the truly epic tragedy of the Lost Boys of Sudan.
Guiding each of these characters through the journey of the play is the Nameless One, a non-speaking, dancer spirit who embodies the commonality of human experience and the under-lying spirituality in even the most lost souls.
Cast: 3 women, 2 men
Since Africa was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work (2005). It was commissioned by Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival and premiered at Chicago Dramatists.
"McCullough has written a sensitive and deeply thoughtful play with four rich characters"
Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago, IL