Review The Night Woman, Julene Robinson, Barbican Centre by Tanica Psalmist

The Night Woman is directed and unapologetically performed by Julene Robinson. Embodying an electrifying, eloquent vibrancy expressed through dance, singing, live music and themes revolving around self-love, as well as the true essence of blackness navigating through life’s metaphysical journey, essentially as a black phenotype, inevitably encountering difficultly, challenging and disempowering experiences due to nuances, biases, prejudices, discrimination, lack of sovereignty and an identity crises due to a lack representation of dark pigmentation, coarse hair and society’s sensitive triggers to discomfort and negative conscious biases from foreign lands, within your own family and inner community.

Julene’s poetical and metaphorical expression of her exploration of darkness to discover inner beauty, magic, Godliness and purity, is mystical and impactful. Leaving you exploring the depths of the starry, moonlit sky using dazzling twinkling fairy lights and robes to represent tree branches, glowing in the low dim illuminance. This play speaks loud volumes of spirituality, trance and ancestral reconnection to reach places of true acceptance, embrace darkness no matter your linage or background, and to do so both internally and externally in every capacity, to avoid escapism of the fear of the unknown, due to colonial biases around darkness, distributing worldwide ignorances.

Watching Julene Robinson performing without an interval was a phenomenal experience, she’s not only an enchantingly performer who effortlessly takes audiences on a complex phenomena, but her use of characterisation in humorous and unapologetic ways to highlight the day in the life of Caribbean girls, born of a darker hue, living in the West Indies, and the general inadequacies faced by woman within the diaspora is magnifying.

The Night Woman, is an eye-opening fusion of loss, grief, femininity, unlearning to learn sequel; reflective stories told in an educative and playful way; with non-stop metaphors, depth and Jamaican humour all in one to re-live, restore, re-imagine and re-ignite all to come alive in the darkness by closing their eyes, whilst simultaneously appreciating dark skinned beauty by remembering darkness birthed light, and the gentle reminders of how life, including human life grows in the darkness where a God dwelled comfortably and humbly before colonial negative connotations of the word black and society’s conflicting interpretation, hatred and detest for darkness, dark matter and the night woman that birthed light lovingly.

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