Chewing Gum Dreams at the Shed
After starring in Blurred Lines, Michaela Coel returns to The Shed to perform Chewing Gum Dreams, a play she penned herself.
If, as part of the Blurred Lines cast, Coel’s potential could only be hinted at, the actress now makes her talent more evident in this one-woman show that combines hilarity and drama: Coel is excellent in a kaleidoscope of personalities that she brings to life with acumen.
She plays the parts of Tracey Gordon, her best friend Candice and the latter’s boyfriend Aaron, on whose stories the play is built up, plus all of the minor characters that revolve around them. Coel is petite but fit. Her figure suits her guise as a teenage girl but her skills are such that she can also portray a guy and actually make us believe she is one. The actress lowers her pitch, she takes another posture, makes different expressions and even if her looks haven’t changed she really seems bigger than herself.
Although the story is interesting, it’s the script that makes it strong. The text is not filtered, but genuine and straightforward. Some lines convey poetry, others are so crude you wish you hadn’t heard them. Either way, words and gestures both hit the spectators who are laughing until they cry one minute and caught paralysed in shock the next.
Chewing Gum Dreams talks about three teenagers coming from a modest borough – their hopes, their fulfilments, their tragedies. These kids’ dreams are like chewing gum indeed, because they are chewed over and over again until they are spat out and become trash after an ephemeral satisfaction.
If it wasn’t a play, it could well be a social issues advertisement. Chewing Gum Dreams could be a campaign against racism, against sexism, promoting empowerment and consciousness on so many levels. It could be inspired by events that Coel herself experienced – but if she did it is not important. What matters is that the audience needs to be reminded that certain things seriously happen in life, and that we all still have to do more to prevent them. Coel is here to tell a story that shouldn’t be forgotten once out of the theatre, because it’s real.
Chewing Gum Dreams is at The Shed until 5th April 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Chewing Gum Dreams here: