Esohe Uwadiae

What are the themes of your play? 

The erasure of the self in a desire to belong. How we reduce ourselves to mirrors, reflecting back whatever anyone wants to see.

Why did you write it and why now? 

It’s a play that’s been at the back of my mind for a while now. I’d be having conversations with friends, specifically Black women, who spent their formative years primarily in London and they were always just a little bit alarmed at some of the things I’d say about going to school in Essex, things I’d normalised. I wanted to capture how that normalisation happens, and how these patterns could play out in adulthood if left unchecked.

Earlier this year, I happened to see a call out for a seed commission from The Marlowe Theatre and The Mercury as a part of ‘Catalyst For Culture’, an initiative funded by SELEP Ltd. They were specifically targeting creatives in the South East and since this play follows a young woman growing up in Essex, it seemed like the perfect time.

Which playwrights are you influenced by and in what way? 

babirye bukilwa. Their work is raw, quietly violent and honest in a way that I deeply admire, particularly in how they consider family relationships, something that I write a lot about. On a more personal level, babirye is also my friend; the way they write and their engagement with the writing world is so unapologetic. They call it as they see it and it inspires me to be the same.

debbie tucker green. I love how controlled her plays and their productions are, every moment feels deliberate and nothing is wasted. I’ll read the same play and learn something new every time.

What do you want to achieve as a playwright? 

I want to write plays that make people feel seen, like I’ve climbed into their head and shone a torch on the parts of themselves they try so hard to make invisible. To Be You is a bit like that for me.

Agent – Berlin Associates

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