SoloFest: From Yardie to Yankee @ The Whitefire

Whitefire Solofest presents: From Yardie to Yankee

Written and performed by Sardia Robinson

For those of you who do not know…and I was one of you…a “Yardie,” according to the urban dictionary, is “Eighties British slang for a person of Jamaican descent.”

“From a Yardie to a Yankee” is a solo show written and performed by Sardia Robinson, telling the fascinating, funny and sometimes heartbreaking story of how she began her life as a “Yardie” in Jamaica and through years of struggle and hard work became a Yankee. Although thankfully she seems to have retained all of her beautiful Jamacianess.

Solo shows are tough.  Imagine being on stage for more than an hour, digging deep into your own life, your pain, your struggles, your intimate history and somehow, magically making it entertaining, without reducing it to amusing anecdotes.  It’s hard to do well, and even harder to do with the grace and soul of Ms Robinson.

She regales us with the story of her life. 

Living with her mother and siblings, then her grandmother, then her aunt in Jamaica, poor but never wanting for love, even if it could be tough love at times.  Living in the poorest and roughest neighborhoods during a vicious and tempestuous time in Jamaica, with gang wars and civil unrest, when people were dying all around her.  Her mother working hard to give her a better life in America and when she finally got here, we follow her adjustment to life in a big city, with young children of her own to raise.  These stories are filled with hope and Ms Robinson’s fierce passion for life and a determination for a future on her own terms and lived in her own way.

She inhabits each of the strong and vivid female characters in her life, moving back and forth between them so easily that we forget she is alone on stage.  Ms Robinson opens her life to the audience, with no apologies, no fear and no pretense and the effect is mesmerizing.

Ms Robinson is touring with this show, which continues to grow and change as she does.  I highly recommend that you see it if you are lucky enough to.  She will greet you with a warm Jamaican welcome while she touches your heart and inspires you with her life.

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.