It is a familiar setting: a small stage, a requisite black backdrop and a single chair. Over the next 45 minutes, however, this generic setting transforms into eight different global locations with the power of Sophia Walker’s theatre skills and absorbing tale.
Her uprooted existence makes for rich creative fodder and Sophia has the talent to craft it into a captivating piece.
Russia, Uganda, Nicaragua: Sophia takes us on a veritable Lonely Planet Top Ten (or to be more precise, eight) tour of places she has lived thus far, starting with her tumultuous childhood, moving frequently with her father’s job, to the more familiar 'find yourself' journeys of young adulthood. It is a routine structure that is elevated by the gripping anecdotes related and more importantly, the spirit in which Sophia conveys them.
Striding across the stage, Sophia enacts the scenes with the same absorbed look that children have when lost in imaginative play. Following her gaze into the middle-distance and back into her memories, you too are sucked in to feel the bumps in the road and the gun against your back. Predominantly humorous, the mood and content does dip into serious fare with Sophia revealing her fears, her traumas and her loves with the same fervour that she impersonates her mother. It is engrossing.
With such a rich story, there is a lot trying to be said. In satisfying style each scene is concluded with a lesson learnt, which varies from social commentary on privacy to the motivations behind travel. It takes a while to realise that there is no overriding theme to these insights, rather that this is the life Sophia has lived and this is what she has learnt. Pick what you like, but there will definitely be something in there that resonates with you.
For all her claims that she is “not normal,” the fact that so many of Sophia’s insights are relatable, speaks against that. The places she has visited may be extraordinary, the things she has experienced extreme, but the attempt to make sense of a convoluted past is universal. Her uprooted existence makes for rich creative fodder and Sophia has the talent to craft it into a captivating piece. Its success shows that her life couldn’t have had that many mistakes in it.