I arrived at the press screening of The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin late and flustered. Even as I apologised and hurriedly took my seat, I knew I was going to enjoy the production, after all, what’s not to like?
The story of a young black girl coming of age and finding her identity and her purpose, all against a backdrop of political unrest, colourism, racism and segregation in an unstable America. However, I wasn’t expecting the genuine laugh out load moments, and there were many. The comedic timing of both ‘Bubbly’ actresses was brilliant, and the exaggerated overplaying of stereotypes skilfully characterised by the excellent cast gave much needed reprieve from what could have been a rather heavy couple of hours.
Bubbly was first produced 17 years ago, and the writer, Kirsten Childs, wrote it as an outlet for all of the feelings that she couldn’t express back then about racial profiling, church assassinations of black people, sadly all still relevant today! She said: “Allowing anger to consume you is self-defeating and unproductive. Which is why I chose to write a story of hope and humour about the ridiculousness of racism and intolerance.”
It’s always refreshing to see a ‘real’ portrayal of a black woman, not playing sassy, angry or crazy. I completely identified with the character Bubbly. As a black woman who has conformed most of her life, I understand the concept of ‘shedding my Chameleon Skin’ as I have gone through a similar transformation, soul searching and subsequent acceptance of who I am. I’m sure many of you have too.
Don’t miss the opportunity of seeing this musical production, not only to support the talent and creative efforts of our sisters, but to witness a truly classy coming of age story, well told.
Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin is showing at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London until 11 March 2017.
Image credit (all): Scott Rylander.