Theatre

How dark are those racist jokes

“I am that mixed raced kid, like 50/50, on the fence, lukewarm, in-between maybe. Trust me, around here I’m about as black as it goes…” Powerful lines like these address issues of racism, identity, hope, and survival in Natasha Marshall’s critically-acclaimed solo performance, Half Breed.

Jazmin feels different because of her mixed ancestry. “She doesn’t want to stay in the village. She doesn’t want to have a baby. She doesn’t want to laugh at racist jokes in the local pub. She’s got to get out.” Half Breed is the semi-autobiographical comic drama written by Natasha Marshall, who performed to a full house at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Soho Theatre.

The performance began as a poem at spoken word nights. The impetus to write Half Breed came when, as Natasha says, “I wasn’t doing any exciting acting roles. So I wanted to create a work on stage that would be different.” Half Breed was then developed into a short play at the Talawa Theatre Company and Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab. The Indian première will be held in Bengaluru, and Natasha is delighted about it. “I wrote Half Breed at my gran’s place. I never expected it to get to where it has! And here I am performing in India!”

The play is loosely based on Natasha’s life. “I am of mixed race, half black and half white. I grew up in an all-white area where there was casual racism, unlike in London, where you cannot get away being racist.”

Natasha says even though it was scary to put her story out there, it was, at the same time, an amazing feeling. “I was not afraid of putting myself out there to help somebody. At Edinburgh, I had all sorts of people of different genders and races who identified with the universal themes like racism and standing up for yourself.”

Half Breed is also about friendship and what it means to be a real friend. Natasha combines a total of seven characters and uses spoken word poetry and physical theatre in the performance.

Half Breed, directed by Miranda Cromwell, will be performed at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield, supported by Arts Council England and British Council, from October 4 to October 7 at 8 pm and on October 8 at 3 pm. and 6.30 pm. Tickets are available on www.bookmyshow.com and at the venue.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 8:39:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/natasha-marshalls/article19790740.ece

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