This short film formed of five monologues is a powerful and thought provoking piece that asks if history can ever really be forgotten when it still forms part of the present.
Curated by Amber James, each of these five powerful monologues written at different times in history offers a powerful reminder of just how far we have got to go in terms equality for Black people, acknowledging that while we have come along way there is still a lot to be done.
Each of the pieces are filled with passion, insight and thoughtfulness that really ensures that the audience pays attention to what is being said. Thanks to the careful curation by James, each monologue moves smoothly from one the other, highlighting how the times may have changed the message hasn’t.
Beginning in 1851, with Sojourner Truth‘s best known speech ‘Ain’t I a Woman’, the audience is automatically hit with the direct and passionate words being spoken – fully embraced by the intensity of Kayla Meikle’s performance. She engages with the audience by speaking directly to the camera at all times in a way that sticks in the mind along with the words.
From there, we are then given a heartfelt and heartbreaking rendition of Una Marson’s 1937 piece ‘Little Brown Girl’, which highlights the feelings of isolation and struggle to be accepted in a new country if you are black. It is performed with great sympathy and profoundness by James. But just as importantly, you can still see how not much was learnt in the period of time between 1851 to 1937 in terms of attitudes and progressing with equality.
The 16 minute piece also includes Stanley Crooke’s understated piece that explores themes surrounding integration, Desmond Pierre’s 1981 piece ‘Mother Country’ and finally ending in the present with Still Shadey’s ‘A Change Must Come’. Each piece reflects how times may have changed but the history and issues raised throughout is still affecting Black people’s present and future.
Expertly directed by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu and Rikki Beadle-Blair and filmed at the Prince of Peckham pub, it is an emotionally powerful piece with respectful and well grounded performances – with Khai Shaw in particular offering a dynamic performance, filled with the frustration and passion that has certainly erupted in the last year.
It is has been cleverly put together and is certainly a vital watch in helping to highlight the mistakes of the past and how important it is to learn and to actually change from them.
By Emma Clarendon
Children’s Children is available to watch for free through the English Touring Theatre’s Youtube Channel.