Writer: Amantha Edmead
Director: Euton Daley
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
Sold is a bold, urgent piece of theatre that explores the brutality of slavery through the eyes of author and abolitionist, Mary Prince. Fusing passionate storytelling with drumming, dance and song, Sold is a hard-hitting but ultimately uplifting play about one woman’s journey towards freedom.
Born into enslavement in Bermuda in 1788, Prince was sold multiple times throughout her life; conveyed from Bermuda to Turks & Caicos to Antigua, and finally to the UK. Written by Amantha Edmead, who also plays the central role, Sold does not shy away from the hardships Prince encountered: family separation, punishing labour, brutal beatings and every kind of physical abuse. Being treated like a “dumb beast” and tortured by successive masters – each more cruel than the last – we can only wonder that she survived her ordeal.
Edmead gives a compelling performance as Prince, switching seamlessly from frenetic dance to sorrowful song and from character to character, punctuated with powerful moments of stillness. Drummer and performer Angie Amra Anderson’s dynamic work bolsters and underscores the storytelling, providing both support and strength. Lati Saka’s choreography is visceral, and Ayo-Dele Edwards thoughtful and energetic song arrangements add much to the narrative, especially the heart-wrenching See Them No More, which is skilfully directed by Euton Daley and performed to perfection by Edmead and Anderson.
After forty years of enslavement, Prince went on to become a British autobiographer and abolitionist. Her book The History of Mary Prince was the first account of the life of a black woman published in the UK, and the influence and consequence of her work galvanised the anti-slavery movement and continues to reverberate today. Sold certainly honours that contribution, and makes sure that Prince is never to be forgotten.
Runs until 25 August 2019 | Image: Contributed