Review- Tracks- SAHK Theatre Exchange and Treasure Chest Theatre School


By Dakota Duclo


Race and racism are at best touchy subjects, and part of a larger conversation that is likely never to go away. Tracks is a production that tells us about racism’s issues in the long term, even to the extent of affecting future and newer generations. This one-woman show is somewhat more of a presentation of hearsay along with an expression of facts regarding Maude Sandham’s grandfather and the later-in-life reveal of not having a “white only” family per se.

Our lead begins the play by making it evident that she and her family originates from South Africa, a country who was subjected to years of racial segregation and laws known as Apartheid. For those reading who don’t know, this was put in place to keep people of different races (in this context, white people and black people) as apart from one another as possible, especially where getting married and having children is concerned. An egregiously vile concept no doubt, apartheid’s essential aim was to oppress people of colour and to elevate the rule of white people. How this relates to the play is another thing indefinitely, and to be quite honest, is not always apparent.


The show itself was staged quite simply, though perhaps too simple. One-woman shows are fairly self-explanatory, though it would be difficult to classify this as a “play”, and it certainly was not stand-up. As there wasn’t much semblance of a plot-  Aristotle’s Poetics would have a thing or two to say in regards to guidelines being followed, or in this case, not followed. Play or not, this is merely an observation, and it still holds its classification as “theatre” as its design still dictates that an audience is present to view it. Be that as it may, and incoming off as more of a power-point presentation, the desire to stay engaged was challenging and not necessarily an easy task.


The set only consisted of a chair and rug, and the pictures used to showcase her family were projected onto the back wall. More than anything it provided the atmosphere of which can only be described as a bedtime story, with moments of the actress briefly changing her voice and physicality to imitate members of her family for the audience’s amusement. In addition, and by no means to pass judgement as most actors/actresses deal with this, the visibility of our story-teller’s nerves were present and she did not seem comfortable in sharing this piece.


This could be due to a number of factors, one worth highlighting the fact that she’s telling a very personal story. Even still there was a lack of audience energy and response to moments that were clearly meant to be humorous, which then created spaces of awkwardness with the exception of a few ‘hits and lands’. All things considered, it was very obvious from the start to the finish…and on the subject of the beginning to the end, this play was quite short, only ran for about 50 minutes, and possibly slightly less. In having reviewed the show, one is not particularly charged admission, but in discovering that tickets ran upwards to 320 HKD, the length of this play is worth the mention to anyone else who may feel so inclined to view this show (a drink is, however, offered at the entrance).


Theatre comes in all forms, so there’s no real “right” way to do things. There is however a common etiquette, and this show equally lost the plot in that regard, as in opening the show, they gave the audience permission to take photos during the production. It should be noted that they did request patrons to refrain from flash photography. Although, this should go without saying, and when the person reviewing the show is present, it can be very difficult not maintain focus when three or four people in front of them divert attention elsewhere as phones raise and eye-line is then averted.


The story itself is still a brave telling, and anyone can take away something from it. The platform for telling this tale is what’s in question, and perhaps writing a novel would’ve been the more appropriate forum for such a story. Regardless, Maude Sandham should hold her head high, as most would likely have difficulty in grappling with such feelings and then expressing their soul to an audience regarding such subject matter.


For more information about this show, click here


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.7


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