Yvette is a unique and emotionally compelling autobiography; written and performed by the multi-disciplinary artist Urielle Klein-Mekongo. The entire production embarks on an emotional journey themed around insecurity, naivety, peer-pressure, infatuation and toxicity. Toxicity that exists within friendship groups; a strict and cultural household and during hormonal imbalances when going through puberty, battling mental constraints of self-worth and self-love.
This play reminisces on the competitive, bitchy and immature nature of challenging secondary school life. In this play we witness Yvette stuck in an era of betrayal even from her best friend, being the centre of hot gossip, attracting inevitable confrontation, loss of confidence after facing rejection from a close, male companion and not being stereotypically desirable enough to hang out with the popular girls either. As a determined student; we see she ambitiously aimed to avoid fights, leave school with good grades and do her parents proud but somehow ending up with the complete reverse; facing suspension after a fight she didn’t provoke, seeing nothing but disappointment on her mothers face to then get criticised for being too influenced by the western worlds ways; losing a sense of her identity and culture. This show travelled minds through the highs and lows of raw and unapologetic truths, unleashing harsh realities as the audience entered in to Urielle’s world.
Yvette for me was about self-expression. By featuring live looping to reinforce her truth through music accelerated our connectivity to Urielle even moreso. Her incredible talent sophisticatedly radiated as we saw an abundance of her singing and spoken word. The loop pedal in her performance truly brought a different experience to her play. Urielle’s rhythmic sentiment chanted a majestic and energetic sensation, making you want to vibe with her on stage. This incredibly upbeat and vibrant show was well balanced in spite of being an equally emotionally abstract and fugitive autobiography.
The layout of the set was an interior design of a compact apartment almost, the mis-en-scene and vitality of the show was simplistic and significantly strong. Urielle’s consequential storyline involved humorous and enjoyable multi-roleplaying throughout. Her level of creativity showed most efficiently during the scene of her re-enacting her interaction with an acquaintance simultaneously; having half of her body facing the audience whilst smartly clothing her right arm in a jacket that gently and subtly caressed the left part of her face to reflect the intimate moment that was manifesting between them both. This scene had an incredibly suspenseful nature making the believability of this scene intense to watch. Every abstract scene in Yvette achieved a suspenseful and self-wakening substance to take away from in hindsight.
Yvette speaks on the underlying issues of ethnic minorities not looking exotic enough or fitting in to society’s perceptions of beauty standards. This production also reflects on the importance of practicing, acknowledging and embracing a sufficient form of self-love during womanhood. As well as how imperative it is to overcome your past and focuses on the present as what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.
A truly heart felt, rhythmic, fundamental, self-healing and women empowering play that ended with the talented actress, singer and songwriter singing her song ‘You Are’. This song is a declaration of being a survivor and not a victim and owning your scars, ending with the words living, breathing, feeling, winning! An inspirational play that speaks volumes into what it means to not give up without a good fight and crown yourself with victory and let no one destroy your destiny. The song Urielle wrote entitled ‘You Are’ is no doubt powerful enough to help women of all ages who feel execration towards themselves learn to accept, transform and become open to appreciating themselves wholly through this remarkably beautiful song.