‘Sold’ tells the heart-breaking, true story of Mary Prince; a woman born into slavery in Bermuda, who became the first known black woman to document her traumatic experience as a slave.
Having both watched plays and read stories about Mary Prince, I was curious to see how the play ‘Sold’ would differ from the many plays that have told Mary’s story. With songs, drums and movement, ‘Sold’ certainly took a new path in sharing the devastating experiences Mary endured during her lifetime.
Set on a small, simple stage, performers Amantha Edmead (plays all characters) and Angie Amara Anderson (Drummer & performer) start the play with dance, singing and drumming. The deep drumming, joyful singing and dancing lit up the stage as the audience waited in anticipation to witness Mary’s journey.
The gasps and shocked faces in the audience when Mary shared her story proves that these stories still need to be told until everyone is fully aware of the barbaric treatment that was inflicted on our ancestors.
Amantha Edmead takes on the character of Mary Prince whilst also playing the role of every person Mary meets. From Mary’s children to multiple slave masters, she was able to embody every single character. Amantha was fantastic at changing her accent, persona, and movement to take on all these different characters. She was able to become a new born baby and an old man through changes in her movement and voice. Not only did Amantha embody all these characters, she also kept the audience engaged with her singing, movement, and stage presence. I thoroughly admired her performance ability.
Angie Amara Anderson played the drums throughout the play and felt like a spirit that was there to comfort Mary. Although Angie was not an actual character, she brought the play alive with her skilful drumming and stage presence.
Whilst Amantha was a great performer, I found it hard at times to follow the play. I would have loved to have seen a separate actor represent the villainous slave owners she was forced to work for.
The play took a while to warm up and tell Mary’s story, but once it did warm up it did not hold back at exposing the brutal torture the British performed on black people. Mary tells the audience about the whipping she received after incorrectly being blamed for cracking a pot, to the sexual abuse she endures when being forced to bathe her slave owner. Although I know about the brutal treatment my ancestors in the Caribbean had to suffer, it always breaks my heart when I hear and watch it.
I found the British accents of the slave owners impactful. With British history avoiding teaching people about the huge involvement the UK had in the slave trade, ‘Sold’ forced the predominantly white audience to be taught their British history, rather than pass responsibility on America and other European countries. The gasps and shocked faces in the audience when Mary shared her story proves that these stories still need to be told until everyone is fully aware of the barbaric treatment that was inflicted on our ancestors.
It was honest, creative, and sad. It is the type of play that will force people to reflect deeply on the cruel past of British History.
‘Sold’ showed the raw truth of the British slave trade and left me heartbroken as I thought about my ancestors experiencing the same trauma Mary Prince faced. It was honest, creative, and sad. It is the type of play that will force people to reflect deeply on the cruel past of British History.
The play focused on Mary’s sheer determination to be free. A status that many take for granted. It showed that Mary was brave and determined to no longer be enslaved. Although her story has been removed from almost all historical books, the play demonstrated that to this day her story is relevant and important.
If you want to learn more about Mary Prince and want a true history lesson into the British slave trade, then I would recommend watching Sold.