Must See Play: Crowning Glory

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

'A play about hair!?' Was the reaction I got when I told some people of my plans for Tuesday night. 'Yeah' I replied, struggling to explain any further, realising that the cultural image confidence I thought I had gained from my 27 years on this earth and 4 years of writing this blog was a big fat lie! Instead I brush the topic under the carpet and move onto easier tales of 'what I watched last night' or 'plans for the weekend.' 

People struggle to understand why our hair is such a big deal. But as this play so wonderfully addresses, our crowning glory is just the tip of the iceberg for how black women see themselves and value their beauty. No one but we can truly understand the stories which weave us together tightly, each strand carrying their own burden and telling a slightly different tale.

Somalia Seaton's Crowning Glory at Stratford Theatre Royal tells those stories honestly, eloquently and with a humour that had the audience crying with laughter. The play sees seven fantastic actresses each act out a very different monologue interspersed with delicate chorus scenes which tie them all together. There was Haircomb, Bounty, Halfbreed, Panther, Bal-ead, Pickyead and Token - the only white girl in an all black cast.

The bitter sweet memories of having my hair done as a child where played out beautifully on stage through Haircomb's monologue.The mother-daughter bonding sesh tainted with talks of good hair, tough hair and the awareness that doing my hair was a chore. One that needed planning, an allocated slot for the weekend. Despite what the advert said, there was no Wash and Go.

Haircomb, and Panther spoke truths for me. I could even reason with Halfbreed, after being told countless times 'you could pass for mixed race' as if it was a badge of honour I should wear with pride, maybe even lie about. Through the words of Bounty, Pickyead, Bal-ead and Token I found my self educated, enlightened and looking at things from a different angle. 

At the end of the play we were treated to one off panel discussion hosted by comedian Angie Le Mar and featuring one of my favourite black hair bloggers - Crystal A. The cast, director and writer, Seaton also took questions from the audience and spoke about their personal connections with the characters.

Crowning Glory really is a must see. Go and support this fantastic play and give it the backing it needs to be taken seriously by play houses across the country. This play must go on tour.

Crowning Glory at Stratford Theatre Royal until 9th November - Book Now!

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