Actor, Richard Blackwood is set to reprise his role from the 2019 play Typical in a film version of the stage production, which is based on the tragic real-life story of Christopher Alder, a Black British ex-serviceman who died in police custody in 1988.
Shot on location at Soho Theatre, Typical, the film, is an incredibly important and moving story that shines a light on stereotypes of Black masculinity and uncovers the humanity behind the man, and the events of twenty years ago.
Written by Ryan Calais Cameron, Typical shows just how little has changed in this space of time, when you consider where we are around the current climate around Black Live Matter.
First performed in 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before the hit play transferred to Soho Theatre for a sell-out run, this film offers a powerful and urgent exploration on how society stereotypes Black masculinity.
In a career high, Hollyoaks regular and former EastEnders star Richard Blackwood reprises the critically acclaimed part he played in Typical, the stage version.
The versatile actor has a career that spans 30 years across stage and screen and was the first Black comic to have his own TV show in the UK in the late nineties and early noughties. For Typical, he delivers an intense, multi-rolling monologue, that is at times both harrowing and darkly comedic.
The tragic storyline highlights the crisis of identity consuming Britain today and how little progress has been made in race relations in the twenty years since Christopher’s story emerged.
“Typical is the story of a Black man that is just a man when he is in the comfort of his home, but as he leaves, he must navigate through society’s ideas and prejudices about what it means to be Black.”
Playwright Ryan Calais Cameron says: “Typical is the story of a Black man that is just a man when he is in the comfort of his home, but as he leaves, he must navigate through society’s ideas and prejudices about what it means to be Black.
“I believe this play is vital and should be seen as widely as possible, particularly now given the far overdue global fight for freedom, justice and liberation from overt, covert, and systemic racism. Typical is a slice of our history, that hopes to give insight, education and hope for a better future.”
The film’s director, Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, who we last saw directing seeds, a theatre production telling the story of two mothers navigating the tragedy of knife crime, had this to say about the film: “It was so heart-breaking to see that even in a global pandemic racism is still raging, the killing of Black people by police and the fact that the virus disproportionately affected us people of colour more — because of the societal inequalities that racism has engineered — is so hard to stomach. Reviving Typical is part of our protest and fight against the wrong going on in the world, a way we as a team are taking action.
“Shooting this as a film, we are hoping it can reach thousands more than our theatre production did, because there needs to be greater awareness of our own incidents of racism, injustice and police misconduct, problems that we need to tackle here in the UK. I am praying that greater awareness helps us along the way to stamping out racism and injustice here, as people are more held to account for their behaviour. Black Lives Matter, Christopher Alder’s life matters, Typical highlights this.”
Typical is currently in post-production. Further announcements detailing the film’s release will be made very soon.
*A percentage of the proceeds from this film will be donated to Janet Alder, Christopher’s sister, who is raising funds to write a book about his story. This film is dedicated to his memory and the many Black men and women whose lives have been destroyed by racism in our society.