Selina Thompson is the writer and performer of salt. The show presents the arduous and horrific journey that Selina undertook on a cargo ship to trace the routes of the transatlantic slave trade. She makes the journey from the UK to Uganda and onwards to Jamaica. The story is passionate and delivered with absolute heart and power. We hear of how Selina witnessed blatant racism and sexism on the cargo ship. She embarked on the trip with a filmmaker friend to catalogue the experience. We find out that the filmmaker had to leave the project due to the horrific conditions they were under. This horrendous ordeal is described with passion and Selina’s fantastic ability as a storyteller is obvious in every word that she speaks. Her words are like poetry and pull the audience into her story, where we are presented with a show that looks a memory, family, identity, justice and belonging.
When the audience enter theatre space it is noted that the front three rows of chairs all have a set of goggles on them. We soon find out that this is for our safety as the show will involve a sledge hammer. When Selina picks up this mammoth sledge hammer, she uses it to break up a slab of salt. It is powerful, forceful, exhausting and shocking. The physical nature of the performance, combined with the frustration and determination of her words, presents an unforgettable image. salt. presents a personal journey for the performer. This is also a journey that countless black men, woman and children had to endure. Selina attempts to convey the immense gravity of this in a physical and powerful performance and through her endearing and engaging stage presence. Selina speaks in subtle tones and makes salt. feel like a conversation between performer and audience. The sound design is evocative and carries some of the emotional weight, allowing Selina to deliver her words with enthusiasm and vigour. salt. is presented at Northern Stage at Summerhall and is without doubt one of the standout shows in their excellent programme.