The Man In Blue Who Came To Tea, Summer 2020
I was approached by Theatre Company, Monkey’s Fist Theatre Company, to write a monologue for their upcoming production "The Entwined"; a collection of monologues featuring modern twists on Classic Fairytales. From Horror, to Comedy, Black Comedy and Political portrayals, a team of amazing writers and actors joined together to create this unique piece.
The monologue "The Man in Blue Who Came To Tea" is a modern and political twist on "Goldilocks and The Three Bears", commenting on the Racism present in the current climate of the USA and the treatment of POC by the Police. It details the experience of a Black family and their interaction with 'the man in blue', focusing on the closer experiences of the young child who uses his trauma to fight against the discrimination in his neighbourhood.
I use childlike, rhythmic language to add a sinister tone to the monologue, which is the opposite to what is expected of fairytales, which are usually lighthearted and bubbly in tone. This is designed to make the audience feel uncomfortable. The monologue is there to enforce the truth; the treatment and discrimination POC face is very real and happening in the Modern day, across the globe. It is not something that can be 'brushed under the carpet' and ignored; it needs to be acknowledged and faced head on, especially by those who do not face this struggle to the same degree. It is important that we use language to further add to the discourse on Racism and make sure the conversation does not end; we need to use our voices and platforms to change the world and fight for the voices that aren't heard; fight for the people who are discriminated against; and fight for a loving world.
Panic On A Global Scale - Spring 2020
The Director of "Young Company 2", a drama group for teens and young adults, commissioned me to write a piece for their play about "How People In Society React to A Lack Of Freedom" and "How They Act In Large Groups"; they then filmed themselves individually reading a stanza or line, and collated the videos together for one expressive piece. This poem was largely based on the experiences of COVID-19, particularly the initial reaction to the first lockdown. For most, it was an experience unlike one they have ever known, so it was important to capture the panic, loneliness, fear and the unknown I have heard so many people describe.
The poem I created for this commission 'Panic On A Global Scale' embodies this sense of panic and 'every person for themselves' attitude' that was prominent in the beginning months of lockdown. The use of bird imagery is both the perfect and imperfect allegory for this inflection of human nature. The 'flocking' to supermarkets to hoard food and products reminded me Magpies who collect 'shiny things' and birds like Blue Jays who hoard food in winter months to eat later. Additionally, the sense of unison we see in birds, particularly during migration periods, seemed an ironic choice - there was, and still seems to be a large divide in the country between the general public and government, as well class divisions in the way people manage the huge financial impact of the pandemic and 'anti-maskers' and 'rule-breakers'. However, despite the divides in the country, unity and togetherness remains; communities working together to help the vulnerable, as well as the NHS workers who have been fighting on the front-line, and teachers and students who have battled through.
The poem ends on a sombre note. However, that does not mean that there is not a light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic - there is hope for things to change for the better and that we too will return to normal, like birds routinely 'fly south in the winter'. It may be the case that we cannot return to the version of normal we knew before and that a world after COVID-19 will look very different; the ending message of the poem hints to this - adapting to survive is just as sewn into our DNA as the birds in the poem but we need to learn to adapt together, not apart.
Puppet- Summer 2018
While I was a part of the drama group for teenagers and young adults, "Young Company 2", I was asked to create a poem that reflected the issues and themes present in the play, Uproot, we would be performing on stages that Summer. The poem was featured on the play's page on the theatre's website and used as promotional material, as well as performed in the play itself.
'Puppet' explores the Protagonist's journey as they battle with their Gender Identity and belonging amongst their peers and family, and their eventual coming out as Non-Binary. It demonstrates their growth and defiance against the Gender Norms that they were told to adhere to, and how they felt strength in being their authentic self. The 'puppet' metaphor in the poem is an apt metaphor for how many of us feel in life; we believe we have to adhere to the binary or 'black and white' social expectations placed onto us by society, even if this is inauthentic to who we are. This pressure is especially prominent in LGBTQ+ individuals and Queer folk, who are discriminated and ostracised for being their authentic selves, and expected to act, dress and behave in 'closed boxes' of what people believe Gender is.
This was an interesting and heartwarming experience, especially as I was dealing with the real struggles members of the LGBTQ+ face everyday, and dealing with someone close to my own age at the time. This was a true learning experience and I continue to actively learn about the LGBTQ+ community, and use the privilege I understand I have to fight against the real struggles and discrimination in our country.