Detailed Synopsis (Spoiler alert)

Detailed Synopsis (Spoiler alert)


            At an African-American hair salon in Toronto, the stylist, Novelette, is busy with customers insisting that they appointments right away. As these customers compete for Novelette’s attention, Sharmaine, a successful TV and film actress, enters. Though only in town for a movie, she is from the neighbourhood and knows Novelette. The other customers, regular viewers of the soap opera on which Sharmaine appears, are starstruck. They begin peppering Sharmaine with questions about her show and her love life.      

            Patsy, a conservative, church-going customer, enters and tells Novelette she wants “the same thing, like every week.” As she gets her hair done, Patsy reminisces about her son, Jerome, of whom she was very protective. One night, Jerome asked to go out to attend a school dance. Patsy reluctantly allowed him to go, but insisted on a strict curfew. As soon as he left, she felt an uneasy feeling. She later learned that Jerome had been shot to death in a parking lot. Patsy mournfully suggests that “maybe someone just need to post a sign that says, ‘Warning. Black boys are in danger of becoming extinct.’” As Novelette finishes up with her hair, Patsy confides that she is pregnant again, with a boy, and she already feels scared for the child. She worries that, at 46, she isn’t up to being a mother again. Novelette tries to comfort and reassure Patsy, telling her that “God knew you had a lot more love to give, so he decided to give you another chance.”

            Suzy, a white woman, waits for her turn with Novelette, but the other customers tell her she should leave and go to a white salon instead. She is about to exit, when Novelette tells her to stay, firmly insisting that everyone is welcome at her salon. Suzy sits down next in Novelette’s chair, and relays her story: her parents kicked her out of their house for dating a black man and becoming pregnant with his child. Appalled by their racism, she left with him, moving from the U.S. to Canada. Yet, as time passed, she deeply missed her family. After splitting up with her boyfriend, she accepted their invitation to come home for Christmas, bringing along her son, Shaney. However, when Shaney accidentally injured his cousin, Suzy’s father screamed at him and called him the ‘n-word.’ As Novelette finishes her hair, Suzy is happily surprised by the new look. Novelette tells her that it’s “never too late to reinvent yourself,” and encourages her to love Shaney “the way you want to be loved. Unconditionally. And in that, forgive yourself.”

            Novelette announces that Sharmaine is next. Sherelle, a businesswoman with a busy schedule, pleads for the next spot, but Novelette tells her that she does not have time to fit her in right now. Frustrated, Sherelle leaves and receives a series of calls on her cellphone, providing a glimpse into her hectic life and the pressure she is under. Meanwhile, in the salon, an elderly woman, Miss Enid, enters, and Novelette tells Sharmaine to move aside and allow the older customer to be served first. Sharmaine complies, and Miss Enid announces that she has a date that night with an 87-year-old man named Charlie. She confesses that he gives her a “tingly feeling” that her late husband never did.


            After Miss Enid is finished, Sharmaine gets her turn in Novelette’s chair. She tells Novelette about her relationship with a woman. She says that some of her longtime friends have turned their backs on her because she is a lesbian. What bothers her most, though, is the silence—the stubbornly withheld acceptance—of her mother. As Novelette finishes with Sharmaine’s hair, she tells her, “I will always be proud of you and always love you, no matter what!” Sharmaine invites the other women to meet the person she is dating; they’re shocked to learn that this person is female, but Novelette tells them to “get over it!”

            Next up is Nia, who also discusses her troubling issues with her mother, who “hated [Nia’s] blackness, ranted and raved every Sunday afternoon as [she] heated up the pressing comb to press [Nia’s] bad hair,” while openly favouring Nia’s sister, who had “good hair.” Nia’s mother has recently died, and she is shaken up by the ambivalence and anger she now feels. Novelette and the other women insist that Nia is beautiful as she is.

            Stacey-Anne is Novelette’s next customer. She moved from the Caribbean to Canada with her mother, who married a Canadian, Mr. Brown. He tells them that he brought them to Canada, but he can also send them back. This ominous warning is why Stacey-Anne is afraid to admit that Mr. Brown that has been sexually abusing her. Yet, empowered by Novelette and the other women, Stacey-Anne boldly declares, “Touch me again Mr. Brown, you better run for your life.” After this, Novelette, finished with her day’s work, delivers a soliloquy, encouraging listeners to “decide what is your truth and stand proudly in it…embrace ‘da Kink, heal, love ‘da Kink, get kinky with ‘da Kink, straighten or keep ‘da Kink. Be gentle with ‘da Kink.”

’da Kink in my Hair

By Trey Anthony
April 16–May 16, 2020
Granville Island Stage
“If you want to know about a woman, touch her hair.” At Novelette’s Toronto salon, captivating stories untangle as eight distinctive women narrate their lives with honesty, humour, and joy. Both heartbreaking and uplifting, ’da Kink in my Hair is a musical testament to the challenges and triumphs in the lives of contemporary Black women.
Buy Tickets From $29
Posted on 18th Dec 2019