Why does a person feel inspired to write a play about their life? A question I reflect on. I ask myself, is it to tell the truth, to alter the pre-conceptions about Pakistani people or to entertain? The real answer is that I love being on stage, hearing the audience’s response and feeling their energy. It brings me joy and I hope the story of Tickbox will make you feel the same.
Tickbox is a unique, semi-autobiographical story about our family life when we first came to live in Scotland. Enticed by the Great British PR, my father brought his young family over from a comfortable middle-class life in Pakistan to live in Govan, Glasgow. I really do not know why my mum did not get the first plane back to Pakistan.
It was a wet, windy very cold December night in 1965 that found my parents arriving at Glasgow airport. My mum in her sari and sandals, my dad wearing a suit, looking dapper and desperate to blend in. But being fashion conscious and into the arts was not enough to prevent the name calling and discrimination that we all endured. My parents were very philosophical about the situation they found themselves in. “These poor people what do they know?” my mum would say, giving an excuse for their racist behaviour.
“What does your father do?” was a question I was frequently asked at school. “Is he a shopkeeper, bus driver or sell drugs?”
“No,” I would say, “he does all three,” with a twinkle in my eye.
Well, my father was doing a PhD in organic chemistry, he was the original Breaking Bad! We met many characters in Glasgow and it is them, their warmth and humour, as much as me and my own family, who I have tried to bring to life in Tickbox.
For more about Lubna Kerr see www.lubnakerr.co.uk