I should have a hot bath? Yeah, I’ll totally try that.
I should do a face mask? Yeah, I’ll totally try that.
I should listen to whale sounds? Yeah I’ll totally try that.
I should write my feelings down. Yeah I’ll totally try that.
Following her five-star solo show WHITE, Koko Brown now brings the world premiere of GREY, the second instalment of her Colour Trilogy, to Ovalhouse this summer. This autobiographical new show candidly explores depression and challenges the taboos which so often obscure black women’s mental health. But, this is not a production about suffering from depression, this is a show about living with it.
Koko is a strong, independent, black woman. She has a roof over her head. She has food in her fridge. She lives a good life. She’s also a little bit sad, a lot of the time. She doesn’t understand why. Numerous studies have found that black people are bearing the brunt of a global mental health crisis and GREY is an urgent piece of multidisciplinary theatre which opens its arms to comfort and our need to be comforted.
GREY is written in Koko’s inimitable lyrically powerful blend of spoken word and vocal looping, the show also stars Sapphire Joy (Imogen, Shakespeare’s Globe; Casualty, BBC). Working with movement director, Shelley Maxwell, it is also fully British Sign Language integrated and this has been made creatively and theatrically integral to the performance.
Koko comments, I started working with Ovalhouse in 2016 so I’m really excited to be doing GREYwith them and to continue on that journey with them. It’s a venue that has become a second home for me and a place where I feel safe to explore new pieces of work.
GREY is a fun story, full of colour, which follows my journey of dealing with mental health issues. It explores what it’s like before people ask for help, to get help and then what happens that, which I think can be glossed over into simple happy endings in mainstream media.
As part of the run at Ovalhouse, there will be a discussion about Accessibility in Theatre, hosted by Georgia Dodsworth with panellists made up of black, female industry professionals, as well as a poetry workshop led by poet and journalist Bridget Minamore. The Lost Kids Collective will also present a free, BSL interpreted night of performances with Sounds, Signs and Spoken Word which will feature live music and poetry. And, for one night only, it will be possible to experience the first two parts of The Colour Trilogy in a double bill matinee on Saturday 13th July.
WHITE is an honest production, and is a joy to listen to and watch. Brown mentions that she wanted to make a show that was “important” but instead “ended up making a show about me”. It is for this reason that Brown’s charismatic and skillfully constructed performance is interesting, important and intelligent (★★★★★ A Younger Theatre).
GREY is generously supported by Arts Council England.
GREY will run at Ovalhouse from Thursday 27th June – Saturday 13th July 2019.