Tickbox

In a moving one-woman show, Lubna Kerr explores race, heritage, gender and health in the context of her and her family's experiences as a Pakistani family in Glasgow. Tickbox outlines the parallels between Kerr's mother's life as an immigrant in the 1960s, and her own as a first-generation immigrant growing up and throughout adulthood.

Kerr paints a detailed picture of the intersecting difficulties facing South Asian women in Scotland

Alternating between comedic monologues and dramatisations of various people in her and her mothers' lives, Kerr paints a detailed picture of the intersecting difficulties facing South Asian women in Scotland, then and now. A central theme is living up to others' expectations - ticking their boxes, some may say - whether that is parents, teachers, peers, or society more generally. This tickbox idea is articulated throughout the show and works as a good metaphor for how Western society expects immigrants, particularly women of colour, to behave and act.

Some of Kerr's transitions between character acting (the portrayals of her mother, or of her Brown Owl as a child) and monologues felt jarring and forced, however the use of lighting and props helped to bring the characters to life. I enjoyed how certain props were used to represent her parents - such as a shawl and a pair of trousers hanging on the washing line, which were taken down by Kerr at appropriate moments during the show.

The key message to take away from Tickbox is "don't tick anyone else's boxes, just yours". This is an important message for everyone, regardless of your cultural or racial heritage. We get too easily caught up in the expectations thrust upon us by others, but this pressure is often much stronger if you are from any sort of minority. Lubna Kerr does a great job of showing the complex intersections that affect all aspects of her life as a Pakistani woman - something that many of us could learn from.

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The Blurb

Tickbox is a semi-autobiographical, one-woman play, in Scots-English and Urdu. Describing a Pakistani woman’s journey from a middle-class life in Pakistan to Govan in Glasgow, sharing the challenges and contrasts. Intertwined with the story of her daughter and their parallel lives, decades apart. Both women faced barriers that typecast them in a stereotypical role of downtrodden Asian women. Amusing questions such as 'but where are you really from' raised issues of identity that needed answering by both. Tickbox combines theatre, storytelling and comedy to interweave the journeys of these two Scottish Pakistani women united by passion and determination.

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