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By Belinda Otas


Monday, May 19, 2008.


Evening Standard rating  


What choice do you have in life when the actions of others constantly shapes your world? How painful is it when you are moved and shook by others but have no say in the affairs of your life. These are some of the questions raised by Celia, a new production from Word of Mouth Media.


Set 50 years after the 1807 Emancipation Act that brought an end to slave trade but not slavery, Celia is the story of one woman’s painful journey that has left a mark in history.  From her childhood days, Celia never had the opportunity to decide where she wanted to wake up or what her actions of the day would entail. Left behind as a baby by her parents, slaves fleeing from their owners, Celia is looked after by her aunt Letty.


Letty does her best to ensure Celia gets the best life has to offer considering their predicament as slaves owned by fellow human beings like themselves. Letty could not have put it better for young Celia to understand when she said, “God created in glory of colour but man has divided in black and white.”


Soon, Celia’s friendship with Richardson, who takes a romantic interest in her, gets her into more trouble than imagined. Young Celia is auctioned off to another owner, whose actions will forever change the course of her life.  Celia represents the many slave women who endured atrocities against humanity and their womanhood in silence and had no power to change their sitaution.


A tale of beatings and brutality, where men are separated form their wives and children, and women are repeatedly raped by their masters. Even the white preacher’s sermon focuses more on slaves being corrected by their masters rather than the freedom God has allowed for all. Celia is a thought-provoking production that takes you back to a time in history and forces you to examine the actions of man.


While Celia is a great story, worthy of the stage and it has its entertaining moments, it lacks direction in areas such as setting; not once is it made clear to the audience where the play is set. If you are not fully aware of the history of slavery, you might have to work extra hard to figure that out for yourself.


Though it is not clear if the director’s intent was for the actors to use British accent throughout this production, there was also no vitality in the language, and the production could have done with more energy. Nonetheless, this is a story worth telling for the sheer courage of one woman to stand up for herself.


For more information, visit: www.newplayerstheatre.com

Tel: 08700 600 100


Belinda Otas is a London-based freelance journalist and The New Black Magazine's features and theatre editor.  She can be reached at belindaotas@thenewblackmagazine.com


Please e-mail comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com 


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