Hurricane Dub by Benjamin Zephaniah

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BBC Radio 7, 4 August 2009
The 1987 hurricane was a cataclysmic event in recent British history. Not only did it wreak a trail of destruction, but it seemed that the country's climate, normally so temperate, had been subject to the kind of extremes normally associated with more tropical regions of the world.
Hurricane Dub depicted the reactions of one Jamaican couple (Norman Beaton, Angela Wynter) to the event. To the woman it seemed as if the Day of Judgment had arrived: God willed the tempest on his people as punishment for their sins. The man was more concerned about the future of his brand new Mercedes, and whether or not it had been struck by falling trees. The play was notable for its adept use of language, in which sounds assumed as much significance as sense. The two principals sustained the dub rhythms, supported by an ingenious use of sound-effects - the ringing of the telephone, for instance. The fact that the dialogue and sound-effects were in rhythmical harmony emphasized the idea of community - everyone was bonding together to resist the effects of the hurricane.
Author Zephaniah used the characters' experience of the hurricane to reflect on other aspects of their lives - for example, the man's past life in Jamaica, where he experienced comfortable companionship sustained by rum and marijuana. Although his existence had changed radically, as he tried to eke out a living in one of London's less salubrious suburbs, he drew on his past as a way of enriching the present. The hurricane had made him consider exactly why he had been placed on this earth.
The play ended with the repeated phrase "what a night," which not only referred to the weather, but to the ways in which the protagonists had reflected on their lives. Benjamin Zephaniah's entertaining half-hour playlet from 1988 was directed by Jeremy Mortimer.