Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Salt (Play Review) Salt (Play Review)
Salt (Play Review)

The play open with the ‘Woman’ (Rochelle Rose) as she’s known, standing still behind an altar that has on it a mortar and pestle containing ground salt, incense burner and a long stem bottle.


Beneath there is a large lump of pink rock salt, a sledgehammer, thick working gloves and safety goggles. Behind her is a dark floor length dark blue drape that represents the Ocean.  An integral part of our journey.


She waits. We wait. All is still. She starts by telling us how black people got their colour, her burden as she calls it. She then breaks the burden by smashing with her hammer the huge piece of rock that represents Europe into many smaller pieces.


We’re now in Antwerp, Belgium where the Woman and her friend , now in the hold cargo ship, set sail on their journey,  retracing a route of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle to relive the traumatic experiences of ancestral captives.


They plan to sail from Europe to Tema, Ghana then via flights to Kingston, Jamaica then by plane onto  North Carolina, USA where they’ll board another cargo ship back to Antwerp. The whole journey to take approximately  two months.


During her difficult and arduous journey, we learn about the racist ships Master and his attempts to make her journey as unbearable as possible, trying to break her spirit for his own pleasure.


In the course of her own ‘captivity’, she also has time to reflect on the sufferings of the captives from gruesome suffocations to burning at  the stake, allowing us to share in their grief and anguish.


In Ghana, as she visits the various sites from where the slaves departed, she’s unexpectedly troubled that she’s unable to grieve, or have that  sense that she has arrived ‘home’.


Her journey through Jamaica,  where despite the beauty and tranquillity of the Island reveals also that she cannot find the inner peace and a sense of home that she so longs for.


She’s begins to slowly realise that home is where you think and make it. Reinforced through clips of old Black comedies we discover in her words “the body is more of a channel that leads us home. Ultimately reality is our home. It is here and now.”


Salt, is a humorous, poetic and clever attempt to recount the previously told tales the suffering of enslaved people at the hands of their brutal, racist European colonisers.


Rochelle, brings a vibrancy and an engaging energy to her role. She is playful but beneath we know lurks thoughts of the past and her ancestors misery that are as hard as the rock salt she pulverises.


Selina Thompson’s writing is sharp and observant, pulling no punches as she creates a graphic and harrowing picture of what her antecedents endured and what their off-springs are undergoing to the present day.


Go see this beautiful and moving theatre that slowly unravels the horrors of the ‘middle passage’ whilst simultaneously questioning what we mean by ‘home’.  It’s a timely reminder that the past is still here with us in the present.


Salt, Till 1 Jun, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, 7.45pm For tickets and details visit: https://ebonyonline.net/event/salt/









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