Actress and writer Akuyoe Graham

Conversation on an awakening

In early scenes of Spirit Awakening, Akuyoe Graham's one-woman play (soon to become a feature film), Graham morphs into her six-year-old self. She is once again a child of West Africa, but also a London schoolgirl, who's struggling to fit in. Having left Africa with her newly divorced mother, Graham has been transplanted into a land that seems chilled and colorless, compared to the warmth and full spectrum of Ghana.

Growing up in England, Graham found she needed to become a chameleon. She acquired the survival skill of mentally changing colors to blend into a changed social spectrum. It would take her a full skein of experience, however, before she found that the truth and love she always had inside were her true and permanent colors. Before awakening, though, she honed UK and US accents, experienced relationships that in turns jangled hollow and rang true, and eventually rediscovered her African roots and a new sense of worth.

As Spirit Awakening unfolds, Graham voices not only her own shifting persona at various life-stages, but also portrays her parents, teachers, schoolmates, actor friends, and boyfriends. She takes us through her drama studies, life in New York City, her move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, and into the inner struggle through which she finds certainty in her African heritage. Graham also rediscovers and revalues her mother's African womanhood.

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At work for the good of it
June 30, 2003

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