REVIEW: Growing into My Skin, Ioana Goga, Paris Fringe 2020 ★★★★☆

There is something to be said about a piece of art which has the scope to be both deeply personal and widely universal. Ioana Goga’s Growing into My Skin falls into this category. Goga’s topics of womanhood, love, mental health, and life are topics which hold an undeniable universality and any audience member would be able to find a moment of agreement within her spoken word performance. Yet, Goga brings her own personality to these topics, she bravely speaks of her first love, her moments of insecurity and the ups and downs of her life. She is a natural storyteller, her language is captivating and her performance is well-paced and delivered.

As Goga takes the audience through the various topics one memorable aspect of her performance is her honesty. You can tell Goga enjoys to perform this poem and we feel her rawness throughout which can only indicate the honesty of her words. I was particularly struck by her love section, she mentions her first love and how he has stuck with her throughout succeeding relationships and first dates. In the same way, Goga continues to mention her first love again and again in the following stanzas. Her format and language choices mimic her life experience. With each section of Growing into My Skin, Goga brought amazing emotion, it felt as if she was reliving the moments she was describing and I lived them with her. I laughed when she laughed, sighed when she sighed and felt her frustrations. Her stories felt like mine and that was comforting.

The resounding message of Goga’s work was we must remain optimistic about the future and appreciate that our past makes us, that these are all experiences we live through whilst we grow into our skins. Goga did a fantastic job of taking us through her stories and allowing us to find moments which resonated with ourselves. It was a well written and well-performed piece that everyone can find likeness in.

Growing into My Skin has its final performance on Sunday 21st online on the Paris Fringe YouTube channel at 20:30 (GMT+1). We highly recommend it.