But stay if you wish to hear the truth.
‘You do not know me yet but I am the heroine of this drama. I am told that here I must give a taste of what is to unfold. I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent days of slavery and the early years of freedom.
‘I was born a slave upon a sugar plantation named Amity. I was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and when slavery was declared no more. It tells of my mama Kitty, of the negroes enslaved, of Caroline Mortimer the woman who owned me. I am to say that it is a true and thrilling journey through that unsettled time.
‘Cha, I say, what fuss-fuss. Come, let them just see it for themselves.’
The Long Song is adapted from Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel by Suhayla El-Bushra, formerly writer in residence at the National Theatre Studio and whose work includes The Suicide (NT), Arabian Nights (Lyceum, Edinburgh), and Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge.
Director Charlotte Gwinner was Associate Director at the Bush Theatre, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Sheffield Theatres 2014-16, where her productions included Waiting for Godot, the Sarah Kane season and The Distance.
Cherrelle Skeete plays July; her theatre credits include Fun Home (Young Vic), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (West End) and Three Days in the Country (National Theatre), while screen work includes the forthcoming Hanna series 2.
Prologue tickets available from 29 February