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My Mother's Shoes


My Mother's Shoes

Bar 50

Within SafeStay Edinburgh Hostel, 50 Blackfriars Street
Upstairs: AUG 3-11, 13-18, 20-25 at 12:15 (60 min) - Free

My Mother's Shoes

Some women aspire to wearing their mother’s shoes. As children, we might have dressed up in them. Later in life, we may follow in our mother’s footsteps intentionally, or because of how we’ve been moulded. Performer and writer Karola Gajda’s mum was sent by Stalin from her homeland Poland to a Siberian gulag at the age of three in 1940. The Red Cross reunited Karola’s mum with father, who had been sent to a different gulag, in the UK, seventeen years later. It was meant to be a happy time, but she then fell ill with a mystery illness. Fighting for her life on a UK ward without a scrap of English, she was saved just in time because of the persistence of a young doctor who spotted she needed the new wonder drug of the day, cortisone. Had Karola’s mum been in Poland she would have died, as it was only available in the UK and America. She got the drug, but it was too late, and the consequences were major. In her usual blend of tragedy and comedy, Karola Gajda looks at one of the most influential relationships of her life asks, can she - or does she - walk in her mother’s shoes? A new and beautiful show that walks the tightrope of painful and funny. 'Life is complicated. So is love'.

News and Reviews for this Show

August 15, 2019    The List

A daughter looks back on her relationship with her Polish mother.

Although her mum died seven years ago, Karola Gajda still loves her, and that's the biggest take-away from her show My Mother's Shoes. Her mum certainly had it tough and no mistake. From a Polish family, Gajda's mum was deported to a Siberian gulag by Stalin during WWII, and things didn't stop there; due to a series of medical misadventures, she ended up having her feet removed due to gangrene after she came to Britain.

She had a pair of special shoes created so she could still walk; for Gajda growing up, the rhythm and volume of these shoes coming up the stairs provided a quick gauge to her mother's mood.

Gajda's show is more than a simple tribute; yes, it's a history lesson, but also a personal rumination of the complexity of a parental relationship. Gajda's relationship with her mother didn't always run smoothly, and it's clear that she regrets some of the conflict between them. But there are also sweet memories here too, of an afternoon tea at the Ritz, and of her mother's desire to share the positives in her life. Reliant on cortisone to survive, there's evidence here of her hard-scrabble existence, but the scope of the story is very much about what can be carried forward; the past informs the present here to good effect. Click Here For Review

Press & Media for this Show

My Mother's Shoes