When: 1st – 23rd May 2018
Where: Birmingham & London
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the venue
What is it?
China Plate presents Yvette, a one woman show by Urielle Klein-Mekongo about a stolen childhood and growing up with a secret. Yvette will be touring to Birmingham and London this May.
Based on her own true story, Klein-Mekongo’s debut show delves into the trials of a young Black girl growing up, from Hello Kitty knickers to ‘lightys’ and the terrible secret of her stolen childhood. Using original music, spoken word and a loop station, this one woman show presents a story of teenage angst and survival.
Evie is thirteen and lives in Neasden with her Mum. She wants to tell us about something – her crush on Lewis, trying to be a woman, friends, virginity, lightys, garage remixes… and an ‘Uncle’ who lurks in the corners of her story – she wants to tell us something, but first she must face it for herself.
Through music, rhyme and witty character observations Urielle Klein-Mekongo invites the audience into a snapshot of a young girl’s life; growing up in a single parent home in North London, the trials and tribulations of being a teenager and the dark figure that infiltrates her life.
Q&A with Urielle Klein-Mekongo
Klein-Mekongo is a writer, theatre maker, singer/songwriter and performer. Since Graduating from the East 15 Acting School, she has written for the Young Hearts Company and Jude Law has performed her work as part of the Lyric Gala. Klein-Mekongo’s one woman show Yvette was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017 to five star reviews.
What’s the show about?
Yvette is a one woman show about a stolen childhood, and the urge to grow up so quickly. The play follows how she comes to terms with sexual trauma, and how to better understand it. But also she has to ask herself what she needs to do to build courage to finish writing her story in life, and what she wants that to be.
What will audiences feel watching it?
They will laugh and cry with our protagonist as she explores what it means to be a pubescent teen with peer pressure, the prospect of young love and firsts. The audience will feel nostalgic, as she embarks on this journey of self-discovery. But most of all they will feel empowered and hopefully inspired by Yvette’s strength.
You’ve written the songs for the show yourself, can you tell us a bit about the music and how it fits into the show?
The music in the show is made from raw vocal loops with continuing musical themes that connect throughout the show. Some of the songs are covers of songs that may make you feel nostalgic. The music enhances Yvette’s Journey and brings to life the rhythm of the entire show.
The show is very personal to you, does that make it difficult to perform every night?
The show can be difficult to perform at times but I have written the character away from me enough to feel safe when performing the show. Yvette isn’t me but is somewhat an extension of who I use to be. I’ve been through a similar experience but Yvette is a lot braver than me. She is my super heroine, because she is unapologetic, fearless in understanding herself.
It takes quite a dark turn, do you think audiences will feel uncomfortable?
I feel the audience will feel a little uncomfortable, it may even bring up things and have them questioning things in their own lives. But the show will bring the audience to a place of hope and bring them to understand that going through this doesn’t mean you are forever a victim but a survivor. The song at the end show will elevate spirits, as it is about finding strength in the survivor in you and making peace with the victim.
What have the responses to the show been like? Do people talk to you a lot afterwards?
The response has been positive so far, people have come up and talked to me about how much they relate to the themes of the play and sometimes about their own experiences. I feel a lot of people relate to Yvette and one of the most powerful things is that men have also felt moved by the story. They talked to me in regards to the women in their life and as men themselves and I appreciate how this show has inspired people to talk more about sexual abuse and consent.
You can catch Yvette at the following venues:
1st May at mac birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH
8th – 9th May at Camden People’s Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Rd, London NW1 2PY
10th – 12th May at Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London EC1V 9LT
14th – 16th May at Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN
17th – 19th May at The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG
21st – 23rd May at Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Rd, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 8LJ
More info: www.chinaplatetheatre.com/yvette