It is 1790 in Saint Domingue, a year and a day before the start of the Haitian Revolution. Minette, a ‘free woman of colour’, waits in a sweltering theatre. She remembers her mother, a courageous and intelligent enslaved woman, and considers her own previous career as an Opera singer. An emotional exchange between mother and daughter reveals the insidious power of divide and rule, the pointlessness of freedom without equality and the importance of resistance. Will Minette find the courage to go back to the Opera or will she remain a ‘Placeholder’?
Set in motion by academic research by the Colonial-Era Caribbean Theatre and Opera Network, a cross-institutional endeavour chaired at St Andrews, Catherine Bisset’s Placeholder addresses the stories that are missing from the archives and the holes in the narrative that are themselves acts of suppression.
“This dialogue for solo performer takes the spectator or reader on an extraordinary journey to pre-revolutionary Saint-Domingue. Placeholder is a creative tour de force that illuminates a little-known period of theatre history and speculates on what it was like to be a performer of colour in a Caribbean slave colony."
Julia Prest, Professor of French and Caribbean Studies,
University of St Andrews
CASTING 1 actor
Running time: 60 minutes
Catherine Bisset is an Edinburgh-based actor and playwright, whose Jamaican-Scottish ancestry is reflected in her love of telling and writing stories that reach across cultures and histories. Placeholder, Catherine’s first play, was long-listed for the Alfred Fagon Award in 2022.
'Placeholder upends what many consider to be a ‘respectful’ account of history.' - CORR BLIMEY