Bullet Hole This brave play raises awareness and highlights the social and traditional conflicts on the topic of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
A practice embedded in cultural traditions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we follow the journey of three survivors and their encounters.
Bullet Hole tells Cleo’s story, played and written by (Gloria Williams), who has post-traumatic stress and is still facing the aftermath of this procedure which has left her physically and emotionally scarred. With Cleo striving for an FGM reversal and counselling, she is sent to ‘recover’ under the guidance of her Aunt Winnie and fellow survivor Eve (Doreen Blackstock).
It is here where we realise that this is not just a place for recovery but a place where Cleo can finally conform to this tradition and accept this ritual as a celebration of womanhood. God fearing and well rooted in the traditions of her culture Aunt Winnie (Anni Domingo), offers a vivid insight into family ideals and the perspective that ‘accepting the sewing of fertility is keeping your role with God’.
Having previously worked at an all-girls school, where 70% of its students were of African, Asian or Middle Eastern descent, I was made aware of this procedure and its content in 2015. Workshops and safeguarding policies were updated and amended for inset days on how to identify challenging behaviour for students who could potentially become victims of FGM. I am delighted that stories on this particular subject are now being told, and strongly hope that this topic raises the awareness that it deserves.
Although poignant at times, the fluidity of scenes felt jagged, which left me with a lot of unanswered questions, for example: why is Cleo not able to leave Aunt Winnie’s house? Was she being held against her will? I would have liked to have had a clearer understanding of their lives before entering the house.
Bullet Hole deserves more time to be explored and developed, as it’s such a heavy topic to condense into a show with a running time of 85 minutes. I think it would be ideally suited for a TV adaptation.
I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of this play. Go see!
Review by Kojo Kamara
Bullet Hole runs at the Park Theatre until 27th October 2018. Find out more and book tickets here.