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Senior Citizen Kane: Rocks

Sarah Gavron, Anu Henriques, Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson

Uniquely crafted by a majority all-female creative team in collaboration with mostly first-time actors, Rocks was written by Theresa Ikoko (winner of the Alfred Fagon award in 2015 for her play Girls) and Claire Wilson (Little Drummer Girl, Gangs of London, The Power), and directed by Sarah Gavron (Suffragette, Brick Lane) and associate director Anu Henriques. Stripped down, urgent, and bristling with energy, Rocks follows a teenage girl who sees her foundation yanked out from under her, and who must find help – and a new family – from her equally precarious friends.

“a beautifully crafted, raw and empathetic portrait of a girl at a turning point”

Shola (Bukky Bakray), or Rocks, as she's known, lives in a London council flat with her younger brother Emmanuel and their single mother. Mum is busy and stressed, leaving Rocks to spend all her free time with school friends. One day, she comes home to find her life radically altered: she is suddenly on her own with a child to take care of. Gavron could easily have steered Rocks into grim territory, but delivers instead a surprising portrait of resilience. Rocks is mercurial, impulsive, and deeply sensitive – not unusual for her age, she sometimes makes desperately poor decisions, for what look to her like good reasons. When her closest friend Sumaya (Kosar Ali) offers help, Rocks doesn't know how to accept it, blinded by Sumaya's two-parent household and relative comfort.

Developed through extensive workshops with its dynamic young cast, Rocks uses agile editing, and welcome doses of humour, to stay close to its protagonist at every moment. The result is a beautifully crafted, raw and empathetic portrait of a girl at a turning point, and a celebration of the essential value of friends.


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