‘Shedding a Skin’, the new award-winning play at the Soho Theatre opens with Myah saying ’I would rather be anywhere. Anywhere else in the world right now. Than right here’.
Her closing ones are ‘..there isn’t anywhere else I’d like to be …..than right here’.
Written and performed by Amanda Wilkin, the play is about Myah’s journey from one place to the other. But it’s much more than a search for individual happiness. It’s a story of trying to find a place in the world and a connection with others. Alongside battles with racism at work, misunderstanding at home, and problems with self esteem and identity, Myah also faces the very basic question of “What do I want to do with my life”. Having just quit her job, split up with her boyfriend and being short of money, she needs to find cheap accommodation and so takes a room in Mildred’s flat – an elderly lady who arrived in this country from Jamaica in 1962.
This is the setting for a story about the lives of these two women – both Black, but one young and one old. One “afraid of the skin I’m in’, the other a pillar of the community. We get drawn into the everyday dramas of Myah and Mildred as the former struggles with the demons that we gradually learn the latter has faced and somehow overcome.
Diversity, and dislocation are themes which are woven into the narrative not only through the testimonies of Myah and Mildred, but also via some interludes where we hear news headlines and are invited to gaze at a moving map of the stars. Some might find these a distraction. I didn’t. Rather they served to illuminate broader issues around “connectedness” and the way the play speaks about universal issues.
Shedding a Skin is a the story of racism through the ages, connection between the generations, fear, strength and kindness. It deals with serious issues but there are plenty of laughs. It captures the joy and power of friendship and offers hope to a whole generation of diverse people. With clever writing and staging, and a witty, engaging and energetic performance, it is a profound comment on the age we live in.
The play runs in the Soho Theatre, 21 Dean St, W1D 3NE from 17 June to 17 July. There will also be a live streamed performance on the 15 July.
Times: 7.30pm (3pm matinees)
Prices: From £10
Booking Link: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/shedding-a-skin/