Fortune is live streaming her truth. Weaving words of survival and solidarity: from a little girl in a bedroom in Kinshasa to a bold young poet in Liverpool. This is her story.
Buttercup is the story of a young woman strong enough to finally make herself heard. She is live-streaming an informal spoken word gig to her online followers. As she takes the mic, she desperately hopes that her audience will include the one person; her mum.
Weaving words, poems, and memories, she shares her story. From a vulnerable little girl in a bedroom in Kinshasa to a bold young woman partying and performing in Liverpool. Only now is she ready to revisit a past that she has locked away, to recognise the power behind her mother’s warnings, and to accept the truth that she was never to blame.
Her spoken word set ricochets back and forth across two decades and two continents. Back to her childhood home in the Congo, filled by a constant stream of aunties and uncles – family without blood ties. Fast-forward to a life in the UK, where Fortune embraces British Christmases but remains tied to the traditions of the country of her birth. She warns her sister Hope, too young to remember where they came from, that their childhood was not all ‘lollipops and sunshine for everyone’ and we know that Fortune sacrificed herself, staying silent so that her sister would not be next.
About the show
Buttercup is the debut play written and performed by Liverpool-based Congolese musician and actor Dorcas Seb, based an original idea by associate producer Odile Mukete.
Commissioned by BBC Arts as part of their Lights On programme, the film is a co-production between Tigerlily Productions and 20 Stories High. It was directed by Julia Samuels (co-Artistic Director of 20 Stories High), produced by Jenny Monks (Tigerlily Productions) and Leanne Jones (20 Stories High).
Buttercup is 20 Stories High’s second BBC commission, following I Told My Mum I Was Going on an R.E. Trip, originally presented by BBC’s Performance Live in 2018 and re-released on iPlayer as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine series.
Photos by Wes Rashid.
Fortune – Dorcas Sebuyange
Carla – Ade Ajibade
Evie – Gabrielle Ellison
Mother – Emmanuela Yogolelo
Writer – Dorcas Seb
Original Idea – Odile Mukete
Director – Julia Samuels
Producers – Jennifer Monks & Leanne Jones
Executive Producer for BBC – Jonty Claypole
Executive Producers – Natasha Dack Ojumu, Nikki Parrott, Julia Samuels
First Assistant Director – Sarah-Jane Jones
Second Assistant Director – Natasha Patel
Third Assistant Director – Donna Coleman
Associate Producer – Odile Mukete
Assistant Producer – Lucy Graham
Director of Photography – Esther Vardy
Editor – Polly Ward
Online Editor and Colourist – Mike Myshko
Music – Shunaji
Sound Designer – Aiwan Obinyan
Sound Recordist – Mike Mullen
Production Designer – Miriam Nabarro
Costume, Hair and Makeup Designer – Odile Mukete
Dramaturg – Sudha Bhuchar
Script Supervisor – Amanda Nally
Focus Puller – Sandra Coulson
Second Assistant Camera – Dean Keague
DIT – Eve Bolotova
Grip – Jason Lee
Gaffer – Dan Tunstell
Electrician – Mark Rickett
Desk Operator – Emma Winstanley
Art Director – Max Meronti
Prop Master – Martin Haydock
Stills Photographer – Wes Rashid
Covid Supervisor & On Set Medic – James Ward
Artist Wellbeing Practitioner – Lou Platt
Production Accountant – Laura Hall
Production Assistant – Rich Bond