Silently Hoping presented by Applecart Arts
What Is It?
Silently Hoping by Iskandar R. Sharazuddin is a play about the journey of one woman and the discovery of her identity.
What Is It About?
This production covers a lot of ground in two hours. We begin with a woman, Kalila Masri (Jazmin Hudson-Ownen) as she reunites with a man, Haji Marsi (Shiraz Khan) and the emotional lead up to this reunion. We learn that Kalila is of mixed heritage and was raised by her white British mother, Thérèse Watts (Denise Stephenson). Because of her upbringing, she believes that her mother has “whitewashed” her childhood, and seeks to reconnect with her Asian and Muslim heritage. We also learn about Kalila’s love life. She has been in a queer relationship with a Nigerian Christian woman called Charlotte “Charlie” Ikande for ten years. Charlotte’s background is a point of contention for the two as her parents were killed by radical Muslims.
We are also introduced to Anna Ikande (Velda Hassan), Charlotte’s sister and Jack Nguyen (Michael Phong Le), Anna’s boyfriend. Anna and Charlotte are no longer on speaking terms, as Charlotte sought to distance herself from her old neighborhood and friends, but now Anna needs her support after getting accepted into university.
In the second act, everyone is running away from something, running to something, or both. Charlotte is running headfirst into motherhood as she completes her first trimester; Anna is running away from Jack so she can run to Charlotte; Jack is sadly running out of time to propose to Anna; Thérèse is running towards her new daughter, Charlotte as her biological daughter, Kalila runs away from her. Haji, Kalila’s father runs back and forth between his current family and Kalila, making sure they never meet and Kalila is running away from everyone so she can get close to the father that left her as a child.
How Did It Make Me Feel?
I felt very overwhelmed after the first act. The audience were confronted with so much information that it was hard to digest. Each character is interesting, and the actors portrayed them well, but I constantly felt as if everyone was in their own play. The show attempted to juggle weighty subjects like mixed identity, queer relationships, and religion all at once, and, unfortunately, everything fell apart.
Although this play didn’t captivate me, I believe that it has potential. As a mixed race person myself, I’d love to see more stories about our struggles. If the playwright makes some necessary choices about what story they are trying to tell, Silently Hoping could be incredibly powerful.
Silently Hoping is playing at Applecart Arts until 30th November 2019.
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