Once Racheal Ofori’s comfortable in a conversation some of her words take on a Ghanaian lilt. Her voice and physicality are so welcoming you might find yourself wanting to mirror her. She makes talking, living and moving look so easy and you want it to be easy for you too. Her words leap out of her mouth quickly one after the other and it’s up to you to keep up, but you will because she makes you care about what she is saying. I’ve observed so much about Racheal because we have been friends and colleagues for a little over three years now. This interview is definitely a conflict of interest and I should be impartial and cast a more discerning eye over the person sitting in front of me. But I don’t because Racheal’s who she says she is; a frighteningly talented actress and a stage and screenwriter who simply wants to get on with the work.
Currently starring in Inua Ellams’ critically acclaimed play Three Sisters, Racheal plays Udo, the youngest of the women in this Nigerian adaptation of Chekov’s classic. Set during the run up to the Biafra War in the late 60s Ellams’ play soars with a vision of West Africa never seen before on stage at the National Theatre. Any criticisms of the absence of women’s voices in his other critically acclaimed works are silenced as he centers not only the three sisters but a whole host of black women on the nation’s premiere stage. The controversial matter of Nigeria’s civil war is seen through the eyes of these women and their conflicts; both big and petty. His humanisation of them as neither all good nor all bad breaks down walls and transforms this hallowed institution into your mum’s living room. When you go to see the play I hope there are many black people there but specifically Nigerians. Usually, British theatre is a very sombre, muted affair with applause saved for intermission and the end, but with Ellams’ soaring writing and a cast that boasts the most excellent black talent from across the land, be prepared to find yourself calling out and joining in as you are taken on a beautiful, heart-warming, soul-shattering adventure.