Writer: Tamara McFarlane
Director: Ian Rickson
Venue: Live Art House
Reviewer: Andy Moseley
Part of the Young Vic’s series of four new works on the pursuit of freedom, written in collaboration with refugees, Now We Are Here is a powerful monologue by Tamara McFarlane telling the story of a young girl’s lesbian relationship in Jamaica. The story is McFarlane’s own, and her telling of it is a powerful indictment of the treatment of the intolerance of Jamaican society to the LGBT community.
With Golda Rosheuvel taking the lead role, the story starts with the innocent childhood friendship between the writer and Kadine, a Canadian girl living in the country.McFarlane was living with her Great Grandmother when the two met and fell in love thanks to a last stick of tutti-frutti chewing gum. What should have been an innocent romance is turbo-charged in a country where homosexuality is illegal and the relationship has to take place in the moments they can find to be alone without relatives or pious neighbours being able to see them.
Rosheuvel shows the intensity of the relationship with an emotional delivery that captures the first rushes of love in all its wonder, but the relationship is of course doomed, and after the 14-year-old gay son of a member of the town is dragged from his house, tortured and eventually killed in an almost ritualistic murder, McFarlane breaks ties with Kadine for the safety of her grandmother and herself. The vividness of the description of the murder is all the more chilling from knowing that it’s real, and Rosheuvel again recreates it with an emotion that underlines an incredible strong committed performance.
The flash forward to five years after the end of the relationship, when McFarlane is living in London, lacks some of the power of the rest of the story, removed from Jamaica and the intensity of the relationship and location, but this is definitely one worth seeing and highly recommended.