Over 500 years ago now and the devastating impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade reverberates within African and Caribbean history, the first sale of African slaves having taken place in 1444 in Lagos, Portugal. A surviving voice of this brutal period in time, Mary Prince’s legacy lives on, her words documented in The History of Mary Prince, a book documenting the horrors of the slave trade. Exploring Mary’s legacy in their show Sold, Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective utilise the traditions of African storytelling to highlight this very important voice within the abolition movement.
Forming half of Park Theatre’s Say it, Women double Bill, Sold is a celebration of Mary’s grit and determination, an incredible force within the abolition movement, the show revolves around her recounting her truth and the horrors that have shaped her. We hear of her forceably being taken from her native home of Bermuda, a British colony, separated from her loved ones, and being carted around like cattle from family to family. Amantha Edmead’s turn as Mary, upon a whole host of figures encountered throughout Mary’s lifetime from the autobiographer Thomas Pringle, to partner, freed slave Daniel James, to her masters mesmerising to watch, Edmead, who is also the show’s writer, a tour de force incorporating the African storytelling tradition of multi-rolling with ease, we now engrossed in this harsh world of the past.
Angie ‘Amra’ Anderson powerfully infuses charm with her talking drum, fuelling the show with an earthy, spiritual, soulful language. Edmead and Anderson a charismatic duo enlivening the torturous, harshly adorned stage, the staging serving as a ghastly reminder of the torture and pain experienced throughout that time period. The show’s musical component a beautiful addition to the evening, a host of original pieces capturing the show’s thoughtful mood.
Euton Daley directs a resonant piece, the show both educational and entertaining to experience. Sold is an integral, thought provoking piece of work, shown during a significant period within British history, Black History Month. Mary’s voice is one we rarely hear of, but one we should know more about – a crucial watch!
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Sold is currently showing until Saturday 6th November at the Park Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…