Identity, race and relationships explored by Phoebe McIntosh
Who Do You Think You Are meets Don’t Tell The Bride in a new one-woman show which explores how our concepts of race, identity and relationships can be challenge.
Dominoes, written, performed and produced by Phoebe McIntosh, is to tour select venues across Wandsworth in May.
The 60 minute show is the story of history teacher Layla McKinnon, who is preparing for her wedding to Andy in the school holidays when she discovers an unsettling link in their pasts; one which poses a threat to her friendships, her sense of identity and the wedding itself. As she pieces together her family tree, reminisces about the past and worries about the future, she tries to hold onto her best friend and her husband-to-be and find out who she is and where she fits in.
The exploration of being what Layla calls, “a domino” (a little bit of both - black and white), is showing at Tara Theatre, Earlsfield, on Thursday 11 May, and The Cat’s Back, Putney, for Fragility Takeover on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May.
Phoebe, 31, has been working as an actress since 2008 when she completed her training at Arts Educational (Chiswick, where she is also from). She has since worked in a range of independent films, commercials and fringe theatre productions. Dominoes is her second self-penned play.
Not content with simply auditioning for existing roles, she began writing her own plays and casting herself. She wrote and performed in a sell-out run of her first play, The Tea Diaries, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013.
She said: “Acting is the best job in the world, when you get the chance to do it. The nature of the business is that there are times when you’ll be out of work as a performer. But I wanted to do something to tip the balance towards working (more often than not) by creating projects which excite me.”
Phoebe performed in another show for the Wandsworth Arts Fringe in 2016 and was inspired to use the annual festival as a platform to debut her own new writing.
“I performed in a digital promenade show called A Secret Life (by Baseless Fabric Theatre Company) last year. It involved the audience following the lead actress through Battersea Park as they listened to her story as thoughts in her head via an app they downloaded to their smartphones before the show”.
Phoebe’s character waited for the audience to arrive at a local pub where her scene would take place. She had to lip-sync her lines so that they were in time with what the audience could hear through their headphones.
“It was challenging getting it right. We wore security style earpieces so that we could hear what they could hear. It was definitely a unique experience for both actor and audience.”
After A Secret Life had finished its run, Phoebe began writing Dominoes. The story, based on imagined and personal experiences, explores the complexities of being mixed-race. It asks the audience to consider whether the difficulties of the past will always pose a threat to the future and if discovering your identity means picking a side.
Phoebe said: “I felt compelled to add to the discussion on diversity which is picking up pace in the arts. I’m really excited about the show. It’s been a learning curve to produce, perform and write something without a cast around me, but I hope the story will grab people’s attention and resonate with their own thoughts about identity and what it means to be different, as well as the trials and tribulations of wedding planning, which I’m sure lots of people can empathise with.”
The play, which launches in May, is supported by Black Theatre Live. Tickets cost £8 - £10 (concessions also available at Tara Theatre) and are available from Tara Theatre box office on 020 8333 4457 for the first performance, or online.
April 11, 2017