“I have thought about it every day since”: Our Young Writers review Chiaroscuro

We invited our Young Writers 2019 cohort to review Chiaroscuro, our latest production celebrating queer women of colour across generations.  Our young writers are aged 14-17 and meet weekly to build on their writing skills, with the opportunity to write and stage a play in our Studio space. Here’s what they thought:

Honor

I can honestly say that Chiaroscuro was one of the most moving, beautiful pieces of theatre I have had the privilege to watch. The story addressed deep rooted issues surrounding topics such as race, sexuality, the foster care system and self esteem gracefully through physical movement, song and poetry. By exploring the perspectives of four completely different women, and delving into such personal connections to prejudice in society it allowed the audience to strongly empathise with the pain that racism and homophobia has inflict on LGBT people of colour.

“It’s a highly relevant and wonderful piece of theatre.”

Not only did the play explore the effects of prejudice, it asked the questions of where this prejudgement stems from – whether that be religion or personal moral, and what determines these opinions. The piece introduced the idea that people can change, if willing to, and that by having conversations, and by discussing each other’s perspectives in a respectful, open minded manor, people who were once opposed to others may slowly reshape their views. It enforced the fact that if you allow yourself to love everyone and their differences then we can reconnect society, but simultaneously address your own harmful tendencies. 

I loved Chiaroscuro and I strongly recommend the show for everyone, it’s a highly relevant and wonderful piece of theatre. I think everyone should go to see it, it will surprise you how deeply you resonate with it.

Lauren

I watched Chiaroscuro about a week ago and I have honestly thought about it every day since. It was absolutely incredible on all fronts.

As someone who is both black and brown, seeing Shiloh Coke, Preeya Kalidas, Anoushka Lucas, and Gloria Onitiri onstage felt like an absolute win. This was the first time I had seen an all-woman of colour cast in anything before nonetheless as portraying LGBT+ characters which was so heartfelt and heart-breaking. Chiaroscuro is so raw and poetic and it really hurt my feelings. Still, I fell in love with it more and more as the time lapsed. The incorporation of music and how beautifully performed it was, juxtaposed by Yomi’s insults and rampant ignorance was so captivating to witness all at once, forever making the audiences and characters all the more vulnerable. I felt myself leaning ever-forwards into the space.

“This was the first time I had seen an all-woman of colour cast in anything.”

Chiaroscuro was so honest too and these women were so convincing; I felt for the characters immensely because I see so much of myself and my generation in them. The commentary on sexuality and identity was so interesting, too. Like, even as an adult you still struggle with being unapologetically yourself and then you’re forced to listen to what others think of you on top of it. Chiaroscuro is so aware of itself, particularly with Shiloh Coke’s sarcastic yet so truthful performance. It was also unbelievably funny in places I didn’t expect. It was shocking but real and personal, and maybe that’s why; I don’t expect to see such discussion on stage and not from people of colour, women of colour, nonetheless gay women of colour. The struggle around love, loving and being loved was so resonating. This play is strangely bold yet so tender and this is a balance that was so compelling to witness. 

Jevoughn

I loved everything about it, the music, the comedy, the transitions between scenes and the characters were nostalgic.  

There were so many things running through my head as I watched this and of them was Gentleman Jack, to put into detail Beth gets attracted to another girl and they start hanging out with each other and fall into a relationship, and so does Anne Lister, obviously people find out about it but at the end of the day, who cares?

Because they both have this thing of having no shame whatsoever, they love each other deeply and that’s all that matters.

There’s a message to women I get from watching this play, no matter whether you white or Black, Lesbian or Bi you are you and should never stop being you’. To wrap it all up, it’s basically putting the finger up to critics.

Other than that it was amazing, just another reason why I love the Bush Theatre.  


Chiaroscuro plays in the Holloway Theatre until 5 Oct. Recruitment for Young Writers Group will open 14 October. 

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