The Take-Away

  • While only around 20 minutes, the show took audiences on a great journey dealing with identity as an African and African American person.

  • The research that Fola has done into her ancestors is clear in the dialogue she has created for them.

The message of the show was very clear. It clearly showed the struggle Fola Afolayan, the performer, goes through living with both African and African American heritage. My absolute favorite moment was during a section of a monologue where Fola described feeling constrained and metaphorically put in a box, she contorted herself to fit underneath a chair. It was a beautiful use of physicality for the context. I wanted more of that!

The action of the play is very clear and the structure is strong. If she wanted to extend it I would love to hear more from Fola’s character as she’s juggling her two identities. Her ancestors positions are made very clear, but we don’t see her character have a full arc.

During the show song is used to distinguish when Fola, the performer,  is embodying her great grandfather and when she’s embodying her great grandmother, African drum for her great grandfather and southern spiritual for her great grandmother. While watching the show I felt that the transformations between characters would be stronger if these songs were done as sound cues, rather than by Fola herself.

During the talkback she mentioned that in previous productions they were sound cues and that her current director is working with her to have these sounds come from her internally. While I think ultimately this will make for a stronger show, currently the use of her voice isn’t fully fleshed out enough to have the impact that it could.

Overall, Fola handled the weight of this one woman show with strength and great execution. Her performance was very strong.

This play is for every person dealing with their identity as it pertains to the diaspora. This is a huge conversation in the Black community currently, especially following Black Panther. Who gets to claim African heritage? Fola’s unique position being from both African and African American descendants examines the conversation in an even more specific way.

 

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