Biography of My Skin

When Biography of My Skin started with Miranda Harcourt addressing us from a screen I was disappointed – I’d thought it was going to be a live production.

But that was a fleeting thought because I was immediately engrossed in what she was saying and within minutes she called out from the auditorium, strode on to the stage and started chatting to us in person.

It was an innovative start to a unique play which held me spellbound throughout.

Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often thought-provoking, this is the story of a remarkable woman, her family, relationships and life, written by her husband Stuart McKenzie who also appears, first on screen then in person.

Quite how much dramatic licence has been applied to the stories and performance is difficult to tell, but that’s part of the play’s appeal.

It takes great skill from both scriptwriter and actors to tell a story which is both intensely intimate and personal yet also universal. Biography of My Skin did it superbly. Nearly 24 hours after seeing the play I am still thinking about it and pondering some of the questions it raised, among which is: “how can I be a good mother if I’m not a good daughter?

Men were in a minority in the audience but those I spoke to afterwards enjoyed it just as much as the women.

Biography of My Skin has been touring the country. Last night’s was its only appearance in the Oamaru Opera House.

The tour concludes with shows in Christchurch this Friday and Saturday. If I was going to be anywhere near the city, I’d put it on my not-to-be-missed list.

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