To weave, or not to weave? That is the question in Somalia Seaton’s urgent new play that looks at the hair industry: its politics and how destructive it can be.
Seven very different performers portray women of colour with varying hair issues. But the night’s main focus of attack is the myth that beauty means someone with straight, white women’s hair.
In several short episodes, each character relays an encounter. There’s ‘Halfbreed’ whose rage bubbles as her date asks if she washes her hair; there’s a woman who shaves all her hair off and is startled by her husband’s response; and there’s one woman who responds explosively to an accusation that she has become disconnected from her roots.
The ensemble works well together and Allyson Ava-Brown gives an excellent turn as the angry Halfbreed. Dawn Reid’s production is nicely fluid and upbeat, drawing on movement, music and video to vary the pace and hit home the point.
Seaton’s script is strong with bouts of poetry and humour, but often the set pieces get a little preachy, and there are one or two stereotypes too far. But at the heart of her play is a universal issue facing all women today: that we pass on our own insecurities and values to our children and that associating blandly attractive women with beauty is a dangerous game.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell