She’s Not Special

I saw Fatuma Adar’s one woman show She’s Not Special presented by Nightwood Theatre and Tarragon at Tarragon Theatre last night.  It’s an interesting blend of stand up, confessional and very loud music in a sort of rap meets rock vein.  The comedy and the confessional element turn on the vagaries of growing up as a black Muslim woman in Canada who aspires to be a writer.  Some of this stuff is familiar to anyone “in the arts”; the tick box nature of grant applications.  “Tick, tick, tick… that’s sound of ticking the boxes… doesn’t work so well at the airport”.  Some of t, like the throw away line there is much more about specific cultural experience.  Also lots of jokes about “intersectionality”.

Fatuma Adar in She_s Not Special at NextStage22 Photo by Connie Tsang - Banner

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Back end of May

may2More May listings…

  • Sarah Porter’s L-E-A-K  opens tonight at the Theatre Centre and runs until Sunday.  It’s described as “an absurdist and poetic lesbian love letter to the ocean”.  I’m intrigued.
  • Nightwood Theatre and Tarragon Theatre are jointly presenting Fatima Adar’s She’s Not Special.  It runs at the Tarragon Theatre from May 24th to 28thHere’s the blurb… “Leave expectations at the door. We are not putting on a play, we are throwing a party. This is a concert, comedy show, and confessional all in one. Come celebrate your mediocrity with us!”
  • Soulpepper are opening a run of Athol Fugard’s 1972 classic Sizwe Banzi is Dead at the Young Centre on the 25th.  That runs until June 18th.
  • The weekend of the 26th to 28th is the Toronto Bach Festival.
  • Finally, on the 26th and 27th Confluence Concerts have a concert at Heliconian Hall called All the Diamonds.  It’s an eclectic mix of music about the night sky performed by the usual suspects.

Tapestry’s new digs

You may have been following this saga.  Basically, Artscape had a twenty year lease on a lot of space in the Distillery District which they leased out various arts organisations and studio artists, including Tapestry Opera and Nightwood Theatre; who jointly occupied the Ernest Balmer Studio and adjacent space wherein I attended many, many performances, rehearsals, workshops and so on.  It’s what made the Distillery District more than a bunch of tourist tat and over-priced restaurants. But the lease ran out and the landlord declined to renew.  Tourist tat is more lucrative than art and the Distillery District’s owners have always struggled with the idea of any purpose other than maximising profits.


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Obeah Opera

brooksObeah Opera is an ambitious work using music, words and dance to explore some aspects of the 17th century Salem witch trials through the eyes of enslaved African women.  It’s being presented by Nightwood Theatre and Culchaworks Arts Collective as part of the New Groundswell Festival.  The central character is Tituba, a traditional healer and practitioner of Obeah; a traditional religion or system of magic.  The narrative takes us through the transportation of the women from Barbados to be sold in Salem and their lives as domestic servants to the pivotal point where Tituba saves the life of the sick daughter of the local minister and is accused of witchcraft.  Along the way we get some very high energy action from the large cast, especially where African themes are explored.  It’s an all female cast and the music is all sung a capella.  This was also a workshop of a work in progress intended for the arts festival at next year’s Pan-Am games so last night did not represent the finished product.

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