Selina Thompson’s Salt strikes you (and some Salt) from the first moment of the piece. It is a play, yes, and a performance — simultaneously highly theatrical through its representative nature, and anti-theatrical in its lack of performative qualities (don’t worry — this is a good thing). Thompson speaks to the audience as if there were only two people in the room, but also fills the space with her power and thoughts, with enough energy to pack an arena.
The piece is a re-telling of her journey by sea to re-claim the routes and places associated with the transatlantic slave trade; the colonial power exertion that built and maintains the structures of power in place today. This sounds heavy, and at times it was, but there was an overwhelming sense of lightness, too. Thompson is an expert storyteller, weaving the dark and rightfully angry with the light; some of my favourite moments were the contrasts between her painful struggle with history and her often funny, completely relatable struggle with explaining her present journey to her father, and ensuring he knows she is safe (when at times she really is not).
The direction (Dawn Walton) and sound design (Sleepdogs) were superb, and complimented Thompson’s script & performance perfectly. She has been touring this show for a couple years now, and I strongly recommend you see it if you can. It has now been over 2 weeks since I saw it, and certain images and moments continue to creep into my memory day to day. That’s evidence of a truly remarkable piece of art.