The second entry in Alchemist Theatre’s ‘Writers On Hold’ series, Blue Beneath My Skin continues to explore the themes of racial identity and femininity. Written and performed by Macadie Amoroso, the monologue focuses on a 17-year-old mixed race girl, who after she was abandoned as a baby by a canal, was found and later raised by an all-white family.
While ‘Canal Baby’ (Amoroso’s character) has a ‘comfortable’ existence, domestic life does have its tensions. She’s still close to her ‘father’, but he and her ‘mother’ are no longer a couple. Living in an all-female household (with ‘mother’ and ‘sister’), far from having many things in common, even neutral interests such as fashion are a divisive subject, where they seldom see eye-to-eye. Regardless of this, it is the one avenue where Amoroso’s character feels she can express her individuality, irrespective of her family’s opinions and tastes.
Even though Amoroso’s character is obviously ‘accepted’, there are differences between the way her mother and father broach her ‘ethnicity’. In her mother’s case, she doesn’t acknowledge that sees ‘colour’ and in many ways doesn’t treat her any differently from her own biological daughter (apart from buying gluten-free food). The father, meanwhile, knows that ‘Canal Baby’ receives hurtful comments from time to time, but assures her that she’s really pretty by anyone’s standards.
Core to Blue Beneath My Skin is ‘Canal Baby’s’ sense of ‘isolation’ – not having family, a circle of friends or local community to feel at ease with, about being non-white. Amoroso’s character does have one ‘ally’ – Paul, the only other person at her school who is ‘brown’. As well as being mixed race, Paul’s also gay, so he’s aware on another level about being ‘the other’/different – even amongst his own family. As his parents are still together, Amoroso’s character gets to see first hand what she’s missing out on and finds herself a little envious of his familial ‘support system’.
The monologue also addresses the messy nature of ‘dating’, from ‘would rather forget’ first sexual experiences to online dating profiles. But in her quest for love and acceptance, will ‘Canal Baby’ continue to look for it in the wrong places..?
© Michael Davis 2020
Blue Beneath My Skin can be viewed at: https://www.thealchemisttheatre.co.uk/blue
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