Sket - review
Park Theatre

Published: Monday, May 2, 2016 9:33 AM | Review by: Mike Scott-Harding | Afridiziak Star Rating:
Sket, Park Theatre Sket, Park Theatre

What the script does cleverly is put the young people’s words and actions into a wider context. Many of the decisions the young people make are as a direct result of their dysfunctional ‘home-lives’."

 

“Sket” is a pejorative term used to describe someone – usually young and female – who is deemed to have ‘loose morals’, or who shares their bodies and/or sexual favours liberally.


The term is part of the wide-ranging – and ever-evolving lexicon of words that children, teenagers, and young adults use among their peers to single each other out, in order to ‘fit in’.


This production seeks to address this most slippery, and divisive phenomena.


The piece has a simple set-up: three male, and three female actors portray six uniformed 13 to 14-year-old inner-city schoolchildren, with the cast being completed by a (presumably) 20-something year-old female teacher.


With no set, minimal lighting and sound cues – and with simple projected images to signify a scene’s location – we are free to eavesdrop on the clandestine world of children and young teenagers.


Sket, Park Theatre Sket, Park Theatre

What we witness is a series of conversations and revelations (initially along gender lines), outlining a brutal cycle of posing, preening, pandering, manipulation, exploitation, and bullying.


Special mention must go to Maya Sondhi, the writer (investigator), and to Pav MJ, who directs with a minimum of fuss, and a maximum of clarity."

We witness a young girl become the victim of sex-texting, and cyber-bullying. Her crime? Gullibility, low self-esteem, and being in possession of a ‘smart phone’ (if not a smart world view).


We watch as a boy is constantly singled out for questioning the misogynistic, homophobic bullying. His reward? Being ‘forced’ into receiving oral sex from a female ‘sket’, then being called “faggot” for not enjoying it enough. His subsequent call to a ‘Samaritan line’ for advice about his homosexuality is a clever – and important - touch.


We ‘see’ a young 13-year-old girl performing the aforementioned sex act ‘behind the bike shed’, then defending her actions by – first stating that she needed money for beauty products – then claiming she ‘wasn’t a slag like [insert peer name here]’.


We see a young male bully - seemingly in control - crumble as the ramifications of his actions start to affect him more directly.


What the script does cleverly is put the young people’s words and actions into a wider context. Many of the decisions the young people make are as a direct result of their dysfunctional ‘home-lives’.


Sket, Park Theatre Sket, Park Theatre

As we hear the (casually proffered) tales of abuse, neglect, and indifference, they go some way to helping us understand that poverty – whether financial, intellectual, emotional, or moral – is at the core of almost all of their troubles. As a result – although not yet fully formed – they cling together, using their poses (and their made-up prose) like life rafts in a sea of grown-up incoherence, or worse. One senses that the issues mentioned here are certainly not unique.


The cast all perform superbly but special mention must go to Tessi Orange-Turner (‘Tamika) who gives a complex – and conflicted – character the excellent portrayal it deserves.


On the face of it, the teacher (‘Miss’) is little more than a cypher - a way to get the information across to us, the audience. However, I think this is the point. Her incomprehension – and indeed powerlessness – at the disrespect she has to deal with, the stories she is being told, and just how much ‘out of the loop’ she is, is exactly how we feel.


Special mention must go to Maya Sondhi, the writer (investigator), and to Pav MJ, who directs with a minimum of fuss, and a maximum of clarity.


“Sket”; if you were unaware of this word’s existence – or if you wish to expand your vocabulary in order to better understand what the children around you are saying (and why) – this play is for you. Oh – and take the kids.


Sket, Park Theatre Sket, Park Theatre

Info: Sket is at the Park Theatre until May 14, 2016 | book tickets




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