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The Scar Test review

Inner strength and working through tough times – a very relevant play at the Soho Theatre.

The Scar Test
Credit: Rob O'Kelly

The Scar Test is a book and now adapted stage play, written by the award-winning, Palestinian-Irish writer Hannah Khalil. In this stage play, Hannah explores very different personalities, with very different backgrounds and throws them altogether in an all-together unfamiliar situation. The Scar Test follows the stories of five women and their dramatic and turbulent life inside Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. The set is completely black, their outfits are grey/black and this of course matches the dark and uncertain theme.

Etched on to the broken faces of all five women are a maps of survival and strength. Frown lines, piercing glares, hunched shoulders and downward smiles. One cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through – experiencing new life in a place that they are not familiar with, without family or friends around, with people who don’t speak their mother tounge. They are all seeking somewhere safe, but their lives are regulated, stripped of basic facilities, with very little privacy and a world away from what they used to know.

The Scar Test

Credit: Rob O’Kelly

The actresses are all important to getting their stories across. Every one of them are so different, and every one of them are so important in showing how different world come together in uncertain times. The thing that makes Scar Test so real, is at the moment, the world we live in knows (well, we see and read) this story only all too well. Or so we assume, we of course know very little, and we can only empathise and imagine.

What also makes Scar Test so dramatically haunting, is that the book/now stage play is based on real life interviews. What we like about the Soho Theatre, is that the theatre is very small and so the performances are very intimate. With a play of this nature, being able to see the soul in their eyes and being so close means that we cannot escape the reality of this, and it makes us connect with the actresses on a deeper level, as you feel everything that they are acting. Human nature can be beautiful, but it can also be brutal. The play ends with a poignant line and it had the entire audience nodding.

Cast: Janet Etuk, Nadia Nadif, Shazia Nicholls, Rebecca Omogbehin and Lucy Sheen. Writer: Hannah Khalil. Director: Sara Joyce Theatre: Soho Theatre Duration: 75 minutes Dates: 5th July – 22nd July 2017.

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