‘Abuelo’- Spanish, meaning ‘Grandfather’ is written and performed by Birmingham based Amahra Spence. The production made its debut at The Birmingham REP and tells the story of her Jamaican Grandfather, while simultaneously giving us a (very)raw and honest insight into her own life and adolescent struggles.
Honestly, I never knew what to expect from a one-woman show, but it was truly nothing short of astonishing. This roller coaster of a play will have you laughing one minute and in tears the next. Not only was this a riveting display of Amahra’s many talents – including singing, rapping, articulate accents and (of course)acting, but it was filled with invaluable life lessons.
Here are five lessons which can enlighten your life too…
1. Love is colour blind
Abuelo loosely tells the story of the relationship between Amahra’s black grandfather and her white grandmother. They got married in a time when racism was still running rampant and when interracial marriages would have been highly frowned upon. Despite this, love still prevailed.
Lesson learnt:We should always look past colour despite what anybody else thinks or has to say. Love does not have a colour, you love who you love…And love conquers all!
2. Family is everything
Amahra demonstrates how much she has been through so far in her life, particularly in her adolescent years, some of which is hard to imagine how she would have ever made it through had it not been for her loving and supportive family.
Lesson learnt: In most circumstances, it is our families that pick us back up when we fall on our feet and our life has hit rock bottom. Its important to appreciate them and always tell them you love them.
3. Inter-generational relationships are important
The relationship between Amahra and her Grandfather is really at the core of this play. It reminds me how important the older generation are and that it is imperative to spend time with them. Whether its your own Grandparents, the elders at your church or a care home; there is so much you can learn from taking the time to sit and listen to them.
Lesson learnt: The elder generation have much insight and wisdom that if we learn at a younger age it could save us a lot of time and trouble! We also have a lot that we can teach the elder generation, especially when it comes to keeping them up to speed with our ever changing world. Value them in your lives and use them as the ever-flowing fountains of wisdom and knowledge that they are.
4. The importance of memories
Lesson learnt: Looking back on times in our lives that may not have been so good helps us to appreciate how far we have come, it can remind us of our strength and teach us something we may not have learnt had we not been through that situation. And of course who doesn’t want to reflect on the good times? It always brings joy to look back on the times that made us our happiest, and it’s even better to look forward to even more!
5. Don’t tell everybody what you’re up to!
The play started with a very bizarre quote that Amahra’s Grandfather used to share with her, it went as follows- “Country dog and Town dog.” I know you may be thinking – “What does that mean?”, and honestly I’m not sure that I fully understand myself! At the end of the play the quote came up again, but this time with a story attached to it. The story was clearly filled with small pockets of wisdom, but one message really stuck out to me – the importance of keeping your dreams, goals, ambitions and plans under wraps!
Lesson learnt: Of course you will have to or want to share these amazing things with others but it is important to know who you can trust. Not everybody has your best interests at heart, unfortunately there are people out there that will set out to steal, destroy and even put a stop to the amazing things you have planned. Surround yourself with people that you know you can trust and share your most precious dreams with only them!
PS:I hope and pray that this play is brought back on tour, if it is I definitely recommend that you all go and see it!
Images 1 and 3 via Tumblr