As the audience enter the performance space at Assembly Roxy we are told to consider the question ‘What is more important to working class people – money or love?’ The question is returned to later in the hour, but not until Scottee takes the stage and delves into his upbringing as a working class kid in North West London.
The stage is set up with a large TV placed on a beige carpet that has been immaculately laid on the floor. To the back of the stage is a white lace curtain. Scottee enters wearing a bright red tracksuit and immediately stands out with his swagger and his bright clothing. During the performance Scottee does not hold back from succinctly expressing his thoughts and feelings on class in Britain today and when he grew up in the 80s and 90s. Even though theatre is a middle class pursuit, this is Scottee’s space and he is going to express himself using the language of his people. The middle class audience (and it is a middle class audience because we are in a theatre) have to keep up with the pace, as Scottee uses catchphrases and greetings common to his life in Camden. The themes, words and even the way Scottee moves around the stage expresses this working class upbringing. The show is a mix of spoken word storytelling, comedy and drama. Anecdotes about class representation draw laughs and create a jovial tone that the performer plays with to his advantage. We are all on Scottee’s side, even if we cannot relate to his background.
The ending is where we experience the true emotion and heart of the performance. As the lights dim, the tone changes and we are given further insight into the performer’s experiences. Here we find out the answer to the question that was asked before we took our seats and the result may not be the one that is expected. Class is something that theatre and art in general always seems to get wrong; so, often the most vocal – the loudest and the most celebrated artists – are the ones that can afford the privilege of having their voices heard. In Class, Scottee has presented the need to hear the voices of the people that are overlooked, misrepresented and ignored by people in power. This care and consideration should be constant, not just when people take a seat in a theatre.