Waldegrave School Autumn Magazine 2022



Our A-Level English Literature students were invited to the showing of Waleed Akhtar’s new play ‘The P Word’ at Bush Theatre. Here is what Y13 student Ruby M. thought about the show: “Waleed Akhtar’s ‘The P Word’ is a stunning exploration of identity and reconciliation with the past. The play follows two gay men with Pakistani heritage, Bilal who was born in Britain but prefers Billy, and the other, Zafar, who is seeking Asylum due to his father finding out about his sexuality which led to the murder of his lover.

We witness their lives apart through the use of a split, rounded stage and then we watch their lives start to intertwine. Gradually, we see each other’s influence on their values and beliefs, until the climax where loyalty is tested and truths are realised. The audience is given what they have been desiring for the last 30 minutes: a satisfying ending to the classic ‘will they, won’t they’ trope. However, Waleed Akhtar refuses to let the audience live in a fairytale, resulting in a profound exploration of identity and humanity. ‘What would you stop at to help the people you love most?’ This quote from Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie perfectly illustrates the heart of these works. However, falling in love in a country that would prefer to prohibit it, forces these characters to go to extreme lengths. The discussions of nationality and identity echoes the challenges that the characters in Home Fire face in regards to their identity and specifically their British nationality. However, perhaps the most poignant connection lies in the idea of multiple Britians within Britain. How you are perceived and your history determines which Britain you live in and unless you distance yourself from your identity and pander to the ‘White Gaze’ that Britain will remain hostile: an enemy rather than a friend.”


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