Playwright

Valerie wrote the box office sell out  cult play Sin Dykes, and has been touring her one woman show Brown Girl In The Ring, internationally for the past ten years. The show is adapted to current issues and politics, while keeping to the story that she is related to the Queen of England. She recently co-produced www.blackhalifax.com 12 short poetic dramas documenting the African descent history of Halifax, Nova Scotia dating back to the 1600s.

  • Brown Girl In The Ring
  • Adventures of Snow Black and Rose Red
  • Sin Dykes
  • You Get Me
  • Totz

FOR THE FAMILY, FOR CHILDREN AND FOR ADULTS

PLEASE CONTACT VALERIE MASON-JOHN For inquiries about full production of one of  her plays.

THE ADVENTURES OF SNOW BLACK AND ROSE RED

World Premier – Stratford Circus 2001

This is a modern fairy tale fusing African, Asian, and European myth with urban city life. Two female best friends , get trapped in the African trickster,  Anansi, spiders web in the woods. The Indian Goddess Kali, Goddess of the night and protector of lost daughters come to there rescue. However Anansi, needs to drink the blood of two young maidens, for longevity and eternal beauty. And so the battle between Kali and Anansi begins, while the two young maidens try to find true love in the depths of the forest in the hope that they will be set free.

Snow Black and Rose Red is a magical tour

With engaging comedy, and physical agility bubbling away there is something for all the family

A MODERN FAIRY TALE FUSING AFRICAN, ASIAN AND EUROPEAN MYTH AND FABLE.

THE ADVENTURES OF SNOW BLACK AND ROSE RED

ACT ONE | Scene 1

Opening Song by Narrator

If you go down to the forest today
You’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down to the forest today
You better go at sunrise

For every trickster that ever there was
Will gather tonight for certain, because
Tonight’s the night the trickster will double cross You.

Every maiden who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today
There’s lots of marvellous things to eat
And wonderful games to play

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
Cause that’s the way Kali will protect you.

If you go down to the forest today
You’d better not go alone
It’s lovely down in the forest today
But safer to stay at home.

For every trickster that ever there was
Will gather tonight for certain, because
Tonight’s the night the trickster will double cross You.

It’s a rites of passage
Watch Snow Black and Rose Red skip into the forest
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them get lost in the forest

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout
They never have any cares

At six o’clock their Mummies and Daddies
Expect them home in time for bed
Because they’re two young maidens

IT IS NIGHT TIME. THE ONLY THING VISIBLE IS THE FULL MOON. THE SOUND OF THUNDER AND LIGHTENING – POURING RAIN – THEN THE CALM OF A RUNNING STREAM. IN A BALL OF FIRE

THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT KALI APPEARS IN RADIANT FORM. SHE STANDS FEARLESS – TWO LEGS AND FOUR ARMS. SHE DRINKS FROM THE SKULLS AROUND HER NECK – SHE DANCES A MOON DANCE

KALI – My stars are blotted out, Clouds are covering Clouds, It is darkness, vibrant. In the roaring whirling wind, Are the sound of a million lunatics, Just loose from the prison house, Wrenching trees by the roots, Sweeping all from the path, The sea has  joined the fray, And swirls up mountain-waves, To reach the pitchy sky, The flash of lurid light, Reveals on every side, A thousand, thousand shades Of Death begrimed and black, Scattering plagues and sorrows, Dancing mad with joy, Come, Mother Come! For terror is thy name, Death is in thy breath, And every shaking step, Destroys a world for e’ver, Thou Time, the All Destroyer, Come O Anansi Come!

If you dare . Come Join me in my cremation ground, where beauty, age and youth prevails. And hug the form of Death, Dance in destruction’s dance, To her the mother comes. I am the almighty Kali – Free as the wind – the liberator of others. Protector of lost daughters and sons.

BROWN GIRL IN THE RING

World Premier – Lyric Hammersmith
A Talawa theatre production
National Tour of England

Brown Girl In The Ring is a tragicomic monologue, a regal meditation on racism from a Royal Highness with a difference. The fact that black people are  biologically connected the European Royal families has never been so outrageously explored and exploded as in the persona of this one woman show

This play is inspired by Sophia Charlotte who is of African and German descent, and was married to the British King George the III.  And was also influenced by the story of Queen Marie Theresa, consort of Louis XIV King of France. “In 1665 his wife .bore a mulatto child from her black servant. The doctor explained the colour by saying; ‘ the black man looked at her.’ The King replied wrathfully; ’it must have been a very penetrating look’. The child was locked away and the public was informed that the queen had a miscarriage.”
What the critics said:
`The funniest satire about the royal family I’ve ever seen’
‘All hail the Queen’
‘A  right royal rumpus’

Mason-John plays a quintessentially English aristo-brat, with a dark shade of cocoa, is by no means an assault  on royalty, but more of an extension  of our vision of royalty. After all nobility comes in many colours.  She is one of our most adventurous performance artists – a veritable monarch of marauding mayhem

Valerie Mason-John in a brilliant captivating thought provoking solo performance carried her audience down the memory lane of history of the colonisation of the Black people

Sample extract –

Now you see I descend from a royal lineage of Africans

who were captured and brought to France in the 16th

century.

Indeed they remained very proud. So much so that

they couldn’t quite understand why my Great Great Grand

Dadada was affected by the paler complexion. Lily Whites

so to speak.
The poor man brought a curse upon the family by

inpregnating a Daz White a, a, a, Tampax White a, a, a,

Lily White. And that was the last we heard of the

natives.

Sweep it under the carpet
My Great Great Grand Mama from the Dom Perignon family

was married of to the family queer, and packed of to

England to raise her predicament in secret. When my Great

Grand Mamama was 18 she was also betrothed to the next

family queer in line, in the hope of erasing the

primitive strain.

YOU GET ME

World Premier – Soho Theatre 2006 – Taita Fahoodzi Production

Rehearsed reading only

This is a play exploring essences of Power/Oppression/Vulnerability/Desperation, through the story of a white mother who has two sons from a black man. One son is light skinned and can pass as white, and the other is dark skinned, who can’t pass as white.

You get me explores how the white mother comes into relationship with how the world perceives her two sons, and how she is forced to look at her sons as black and white, due to the unfair harassment her dark-skinned son begins to experience as he enters his rites of passage of becoming a young man.

As the mother tries to support both her sons through their rites of passage, she is faced with her own rites of passage, (the next age in her life) of taking on board what it means in society to marry a black man, and have his children. She was unable to understand it, or indeed face it while married to her husband, who died of heart attack at an early age.

This play uses poetry, rap and dialogue to tell this family’s story

Father’s Voice  Shut it Claud.. before I knock your teeth

                                             out. You may have black skin but your

                                             African. Forget this Yardie trip.  Your

                                             ancestors were not slaves. They were proud

                                             tribal men. Not criminals.

Junior                                 You don’t understand. It’s different now

                                             from when

You Were alive. If you’ve got black skin, your all the same. Police don’t care where you come from. We’re all crooks. We’re all yardies on the streets. We come from back a Yard Dad. You Get me.

Father’s Voice                    I’ve heard enough of your rant – now listen to me

I have been stripped raw

Peeled and skinned

From my ancient territories.

You see my African feet once stood firm

Many thousands of years ago

They belonged to the Yoruba tribe

Who carved their prints

Along the banks of the West Coast.

I’ve been whipped sore

Sap oozing rivers

Of sweat, blood and tears

My African feet shackled

500 years ago.

Pillaged from their homeland

Toiling in cotton fields.

Serving on the London Underground

Cleaning hospital floors

Beating the doors down for

A home to live in

I’ve been through it too – I know what it’s like

Junior It’s different now dad.

Athletes’ feet – Dancing feet

Convicted feet – Protesting feet

United – in this Kingdom.

Peeled to the core

The soles of my black feet

Still crawling along this dotted journey.

There’s no chance for young black men today

Fathers VoiceListen to me. You can’t make the same mistakes as

Your Brother. He’s an unsung hero. Exchanged his Yoruba Roots to become a Yardie.

You don’t even remember him. Five minutes of fame

on the front cover Of  the  Basildon recorder.

Disgracing the Olubiye Name.  I’ve had words with

him – since he Fell from fame – and ended up inside my grave.

THE TOTZ –

a play for children under seven

World Premier – Half Moon Theatre 2005

Rehearsed Reading Only

This is a play about a boy who is the only child in his family, and so he creates his world of friends with the dolls his mother buys him.

George and Shanti are dolls – James is the seven year old boy

George:Hey it’s my cousin Shanti. Wondered when you would get bought

Shanti:Huh I’ve been sitting on a dusty shelf for months

Jamie:Mummy say’s you’re a special offer

Shanti:I .am. I was in a bargain bin for months. I never thought anyone would

Buy me/

George:Shanti’s mum is too sick to look after her, so she had to give her

Away.

Shanti:At least I have a dad

George:And so do I

Shanti:He lives in the pub all day, so your mum has no money to look after

You.

George:Well at least I didn’t end up in the bargain bin

Shanti:And what’s wrong with that. I come with three new outfits including

An airplanes captains suit

Jamie:That’s for me. You’re a girl

Shanti:And I can drive planes

Jamie:No way

(Jamie rummages in the box that the doll came out of, and pulls a remote control out)

George:Watch out, Jamie is boss

Jamie:Yes that’s right. (And he points the remote at Shanti)

Shanti:But he hasn’t heard the instructions

Jamie:Instructions. What are they

George:They tell you how to look after a totz, you’re mummy threw mine

Away before I could tell you

SIN DYKES

Produced by Jenifer Dean

A box office sell out

A hard-hitting comedy which puts the sting in the story of black and white relationships.

Dedicated to the late Jenny White, writer, artist and journalist, who

believed in this play and encouraged me to stage it. The spirit of you

permeates Sin Dykes, thank you.

The story of one woman’s exploration of sexuality, as she comes face to

face with the issues of relationships between Black and White, SM in

mixed relationships, and SM in relationships between black women.

Set in the late 1990s, in London, dykes are out of the closet. Black

dykes openly do SM, dykes openly sleep with gay men. There is dialogue,

debate, and outrage, but nobody is listening any more.

What the critics said:

`Sharply written’

`Sexiest lesbian play ever’

`This play raises some crucial points about the relations between race and sexuality, and about the difference between abusive violence and consensual violence. Mason-johns sharply satirical wit, keeps the audience engaged’

`Brush up on your hanky codes with sin dykes’

extract from Sin Dykes:

____________________________________

GILL’s bed sit. The next day.

GILL is in bed nestled under the duvet. Telephone by bedside dresser

rings. She stirs. It rings again. An arm appears from beneath duvet and

grabs receiver, pulls it under the covers.

GILL (speaking from under duvet). Hello … (Slams receiver down. Sound

of another phone ringing, similar bell. Sits up in bed, looks around

room, and suddenly grabs jacket from a chair beside bed. Pulls a mobile

out.) Of course you’ve bloody woken me up … What time is it? …

You’re joking, ring me later.

Snaps mobile shut and switches it off, puts it back on chair, and

snuggles under duvet. Sound of first phone again, she ignores it. Goes

to grab the mobile, and stops midway, realising it’s telephone set.

Picks up receiver and lies back down. Pauses in following should be long

enough to allow Gill to be seen reacting variously to the other person.

GILL. Wrong number, ring 999 … I don’t care how urgent it is … No

you can’t come round … I’m not a bloody locksmith … What type of key

… Handcuffs! (Sits up in bed.) What like the pigs use? … Am I

supposed to laugh? … Actually I gave them back with the uniform, sorry

… No! … That’s your problem, I’m wrecked, I need my sleep … I’ll

look, but that’s all I’m doing. Hold on.

Puts receiver down and bends over bed, pulls a small trunk from beneath

bed. Opens it and rummages around. Closes the trunk and pushes it back

under bed, and picks receiver up.

GILL. You’re in luck … No promises it will fit … Don’t push your

luck … No! … Tomorrow … Five hours … Three … One and a half, I

need to chill.

Hangs up, leaving the phone off the hook. Aggressively throws herself

under duvet. Door bell rings.

GILL (shouts from beneath her duvet). I’m out.

TRUDY lets herself in. She carries a bag. GILL pulls the duvet off her

face.

TRUDY. Are you alright?

GILL. Oh just a bad dream.

TRUDY moves the clothes and phone off the chair and sits down. She looks

around the room.

TRUDY. You’re not going to stay in bed all day?

GILL. Oh not now, I’m sleeping.

TRUDY. No peace for the wicked.

GILL. Look, entertain yourself.

TRUDY. How comes you’re in bed alone?

GILL (sits up in bed). Oh you know how it is. I was up the Rub Club last

night, dropped an E, and spent half the night fisting in the toilets. I

ran out of KY and rubber gloves. And then Suzanne came along and

propositioned me.

TRUDY. Sometimes you’re so boring. Obviously the ‘E’ still hasn’t worn

off. Why don’t you admit you’re losing your charm?

GILL. Now I might be on ‘E’, but I’m not stupid. You didn’t come all the

way over here, to give me a hard time. You normally ring me to do that.

And if you did, you know where the front door is.

TRUDY. I’ve brought you breakfast.

GILL. What’s the celebration?

TRUDY. Six months of separation.

GILL. You’re strange, its all those self empowering workshops you go to.

TRUDY. Well it’s an achievement to break up. Not everyone manages it.

Most of us hang on in there to the bitter end, almost destroying each

other.

GILL. Trudy I can’t cope, with deep and meaningfuls so early in the

morning. Pass me the skins.

TRUDY. It’s two o’ clock in the afternoon.

GILL. Who cares what the time is! Pass me the skins, and I’ll build a

big fat joint to go with brekky. You know where everything is?

TRUDY. I’ve brought everything including paper plates and cups.

TRUDY unfolds a paper tablecloth and puts it on the bed, unwraps fresh

bagels, salmon and cream cheese. GILL looks for her dope, searching her

clothes while talking.

GILL. I know we’ve been working at friendship for six months, but what’s

this in aid of? (Gives up looking and takes half a joint from the

ashtray on her dresser and passes it to TRUDY.) Here, you light up.

TRUDY. No thanks. You got me into that shit. I’m trying to stop. I came

round for an honest chat / you’re the only person I feel safe speaking

GILL. I knew it-

TRUDY. Kat is up on her high horse, screaming black girls don’t do SM,

and my other mates refuse to talk about it.

GILL. I knew you had something else up your sleeve. Shit, where are the

matches?

GILL gives up looking and puts joint back in the ashtray. TRUDY passes

her a bagel and takes one herself. They both take a bite.

TRUDY. Please Gill, I’m serious. I’ve decided to play.

GILL. You what! (Puts her bagel down on dresser.)

TRUDY. Play, I want to explore and experiment with sex.

GILL. Great! What made you change your mind? This is worth celebrating.

Where is the champagne?

TRUDY. I knew you would support me.

GILL. Does that mean we’re back together again? Separation was

definitely worth the angst.

TRUDY puts her bagel down on the bed.

TRUDY. Gill … I want to play with Clio.

GILL. Oh, oh, I see, it’s just that I thought maybe we would perhaps …

Note: actors should play the following sequence up to [add page no.] as

an intimate and physical scene, through contact, and use of voice/tone.

TRUDY. It’s over between us as lovers. I’ve moved on.

GILL. Well I can see that. But are you sure? I mean, do you understand

what you may be letting your self in for?

TRUDY. Not you too. I thought you would be the last person to be

unsympathetic.

GILL. I’m sorry, it’s just that …

TRUDY. Just what?

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