The Slaves explores the theme of power using an isolated event of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The original version was written in 1972, when Mohammed Ben-Abdallah was in the final year at University of Ghana, and was first produced at the University of Ghana. In the same year, it became the first non-American play to win the Randolph Edmonds Award of the National Association for Speech and Dramatic Arts in the USA. It has since been performed many times and has received critical acclaim in Ghana and abroad.
This expanded and richly enhanced version of the play is enriched by ben-Abdallah’s vast experience as a major African playwright and director, and by the techniques of Abibigoro mastered by the veteran Ghanaian artist over years of dedicated experimental work.
This version of The Slaves was first presented at the University of Ghana and at the National Theatre of Ghana as part of of the programme of dramatic presentations in celebration of Ghana’s 50th Independence Anniversary in 2017.
A Portuguese slave ship leaves the Elmina Castle with hundreds of African slaves bound for the Americas, but one slave girl is left behind. A traumatic story of Asana and her new environment extol the attributes of the tradition and culture of the people of Edina, both of the spiritual and the mundane. The impact of the slave trade on all concerned is told with anger, love and even humour. In spite of her ordeal, Asana, like the people of Edina, remains strong like the anthill. The Elmina Castle features in a documentary film made by Bill Marshall on Nana Yaa Asantewaa, the legendary queen mother of Ejisu in Ashanti, who was captured by the British colonial masters, who exiled her to Seychelles where she died. This play comes after a four year drought in any artistic work by the author.