salt. by Selina Thompson
What is it?
An autobiographical one woman show that follows the travels of Selina Thompson in her journey to understand and connect to her black heritage, performed by Rochelle Rose.
What's it all about?
A woman stands before the audience and begins to unravel the knots of her past. A clean, natural workspace surrounds her, and incense burns to cleanse the room for the spiritual healing and understanding to come.
The woman (Rochelle Rose) explains the nature of her heritage. She plainly states that she is both second generation and third, meaning she is adopted and her birthparents were both Rastafarians from Jamaica that moved to the UK when they were thirteen. Her adoptive parents were both born in the UK and had parents from Jamaica and Montserrat.
From here the woman explains the emotions, and often anguish and pain of being brought up in Europe, and the constant push she has had against her.
Her grief hangs heavy over her and it is this that pushes her to go out to sea, to be at the centre of the triangle that is Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. To try and breathe right again and quench the pain that is constantly in her.
A trip on a cargo ship from Antwerp, Belgium to Tema in Ghana. A three week journey that would eventually lead to Jamaica and the final stretch back to Antwerp. A journey that changed and forced Selina to choose life instead of the death that has so often burdened and abolished her people.
How did it make me feel?
It is certainly not my place to decide whether or not this piece of art is "good" or "bad" but can only explain the way in which the piece made me feel. The power and raw energy that seeps from the language throughout the performance is at times overwhelming as Rose's performances scorches.
The use of natural things in the space to create these worlds is incredibly delicate and clever. The work done by Selina Thompson to create such a vivid story is truly remarkable.
Each section of the play has its own unique personality, and as we see the truly harrowing experiences unfold we too are privy to the joy and the relief of choosing a life that is most important to her.
Rochelle Rose is a force to reckoned with in this show. She carries the importance of the show with a reverence that is electrifying. Without this key element the piece would feel forced or preachy. But the manner in which Rose moves and evolves throughout is incredibly special to be apart of.
Where Is It Playing?
The show played in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court theatre. The space is intimate, and provides for a truly tender and honest experience for anyone in the audience.
This show is art in one of its highest forms. It is strong and unapologetic and completely representative of a woman taking on the pain and struggles of those that have come before her, and those yet to come.
salt. runs at the Royal Court Theatre until the 1st June 2019
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