By Yani Perez
“Confessions of a Mulatto Love Child,” written and performed by Bellina Logan, is a skillfully crafted, directed and acted show. Ms. Logan delivers a hilarious, heartfelt performance about her life as a biracial woman growing up in multiple cities with her vivacious mother Averil. Ms. Logan’s energy and talent are evident from the minute the lights come up.
It is a full house, and as the lights dim, Gypsy Kings play, then “My Funny Valentine.” The lights come back on to reveal Ms. Logan in a minimally designed set: two elegant chairs and a table. She begins: “My mother was very white, very blonde, very blue‑eyed and very British. Now, imagine Maggie Smith getting together with Shaft ‑ and you get me.” What a fantastic way to begin! She sets the tone for the show with this first line.
Her mom and dad met while working on a play in Los Angeles and started seeing each other. She was a white woman from Bel Air. He was an African‑American artist. They chose to keep their relationship a secret at a time in America when interracial couples were not readily accepted.
Averil, Ms. Logan’s mom, becomes “happily pregnant,” but keeps the pregnancy a secret from her family and friends until after Bellina is born. She surprises her two older daughters with this “gift.”
The play captures the life of a “lioness,” as she moves from California to New York to England back to California, eventually putting down roots in New York City. The family’s life in New York is exciting, unpredictable and lively. Averil opens a bed and breakfast, starts collecting cats, and loves to dance to her favorite music. She makes friends and a life in New York. They finally have a place to call home.
As the story progresses, Ms. Logan speaks about her mother’s eventual mental deterioration. Ms. Logan receives a phone call from her uncle cautioning her to keep an eye on her mother. She goes to New York, where neighbors and shop owners ask if her mom is “okay.” She’d seemed a little off, lately. Ms. Logan’s realization of her mother’s condition sets in, and life changes. Averil is in denial and cannot accept that she has a medical condition. She boasts of having been a single mother, taking care of everyone, and that she does not need care; she is the one who provides the care. Her condition worsens, and Ms. Logan flies back and forth from California to New York City to dismantle the life they once had. She sells her mother’s house and brings her to California.
This is a moving story that explores the reality of growing up biracial with a feisty mother with nomadic tendencies. Ms. Logan is such an incredible storyteller that it is possible to live her experiences alongside her. The emotions are real; the humor is poignant. The life of Averil Logan is celebrated through the work of her brilliant daughter, Bellina Logan.
“Confessions of a Mulatto Love Child”
Written and Performed by Bellina Logan
Directed by Maggie Soboil
October 13 at 2 PM, and November 7 at 7 PM
Photo: courtesy of the production
2019 United Solo Theatre Festival
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
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YANI PEREZ is a playwright, poet and translator. Her work can be found in literary journals and websites. Her plays have been presented in various theaters in New York City, the Alternative Theatre Festival in Bogotá, La Mama and Yale University. She currently works at IATI Theater, one of the oldest Latinx theaters in NYC. She completed her M.F.A in Creative Writing at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus.