With two plays Off-Broadway this year, playwright Ngozi Anyanwu and director Awoye Timpo are quickly becoming a creative power couple. The Homecoming Queen at Atlantic Theater Company saw a novelist return home to Nigeria after years away, while Good Grief, which has just opened several blocks east at the Vineyard Theatre, explores the lives of Nigerian immigrants to the U.S. through their children.
Don’t go to The Homecoming Queen expecting a story involving tailgate parties and Hail Mary passes. This thoughtful, emotionally wracking drama doesn’t even take place in the United States. It’s the story of a homecoming of its heroine, Kelechi, to the African village in Nigeria that she left 15 years earlier to build a life in the U.S. It’s about culture shock, revenge, guilt, and, strangely but pertinently, the damage wrought by rape.