The High Table by Temi Wilkey
I was privileged enough to be invited to The High Table at the Bush Theatre, as you know titles are very important to me - and this title made me feel exclusive!
Meet Tara and Leah – Black and Woman and getting married!!
Say it loud!
I'm Black and... Proud?
With Black and Proud having a whole new spin – I was seated around the ancestral circle of a press night filled with black creatives – celebrating the union of an often hidden affair.
Antennas on up!
I was skeptical at first – because my traditional mindset means I’m from the school of not wanting to expose unresolved issues or topics within the community… the black community. This is because my trust for external (non-black) communities is at an all time low.
I have found that when other communities are presented with our issues they use it as a means to manipulate rather than aid in progression... i.e.
“Nigerians and Jamaicans don’t get on do they?”
“Black guys have told me that Black women are really aggressive!”
“I wish Tanisha was like you and stopped wearing that awful wig!"
So… my antennas (uncovered and out of the wig) were up!
The whole Cast, Writer and Director alongside the majority of the audience were black so why were my atennas up?
Did I truly accept the black gay community as belonging to the Black Community?
Was this play going to ridicule my community as a way to under handedly appease whiteness through the guise of gayness?
This was my concern... but as part of my own process, the development in my ability to critically think and my constant communication with myself about my concerns - is in fact to grow... and my learning definitely grew...
Actually, what I experienced was a new type of community that was vibrant, bold and challenged rigid boxes of identity... both the production and the audience.
But for the sake of the box which is this review I want to look at a theme that The High Table presents and that is to be Black and Gay.
I think that the black gay community belongs to two (at least) marginalized groups – groups that have had their narrative demonized, and are silently longing for appreciation.
How then the black and gay community are portrayed then, is therefore very important because of discrimination.
And although black is not synonymous with heterosexuality and homosexuality is not synonymous with white, I think (maybe because of patriarchy and colonisation) the black straight person and white gayperson hang onto these privileges to navigate through life.
So then... to be Black and Gay and Female – What do you hang onto?
The High Table does a great job at delicately navigating, questioning and celebrating all of these things. Responding with humor, his(her)story and love. Taking their rightful seat at The High Table of inclusivity.
Black and Proud!
High up in the Stars!
What I thoroughly enjoyed was The High Tables exploration of the root of homosexuality and the education of this type of relationship existing pre-colonized Africa.
With Valentines Day recently, and my current revelation about the origins of Romance - I am desperate for us all to look at what has influenced conventional relationships, in particular black love.
I watched in delight.
Relaxed my antennas (rather than my hair lol)...
as The High Table celebrated blessings from the ancestors through dance, communication and love imbedded in Tara and Leah’s African relationship!
The High Table is at the Bush Theatre until 21st March
Directing by Daniel Bailey
Writing by Demi Wilkey