Punks Paul, Jan and Louis are working-class lads living in south London. School didn’t do much for them and unemployment is high, so they hang around and smoke, nick cars and try to pull girls. They’re bored, angry and frustrated at the lack of opportunities available to poor kids like them. They want to improve their quality of life and feel like they belong in society, but society’s too busy fighting terrorism and racism to pay them any attention so they do their best to get by, or not. It sounds like the present, right? Nope.
Whilst visiting a Caribbean island about 100 years ago, Brutus Jones, an African American train driver, some how ends up emperor of the island’s native tribe. His reign is brutal, so Jones knows it will eventually end. Eugene O’Neill’s 1920 The Emperor Jones begins with Jones’ initially relaxed attempt at escape from the uprising citizens, and inevitable guilty descent into the madness of a Shakespearian villain. The script is entirely spoken by Jones, barring the first and last scenes, with his madness peppered with ghosts that won’t let him rest in the darkness of the island’s woods.