Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: (Toronto) nanny: maroon warrior queen (SummerWorks)

What Do You Fight For? What Do You Fear?
by Beat Rice

nanny: maroon warrior queen is d'bi young's most recent work in progress. This SummerWorks showcase is a first draft, and is cut short in order to allow time for a post-show talk back session. It is one of those special theatre experiences in which the audience truly feels like part of the piece, as well as part of an artist's process, which is important in creating original work. d'bi young says at the end of her performance that the next step in her process is a conversation with the community. What better way is there to find out what speaks to people, than simply asking them face to face with the house lights up?

d'bi starts off her performance in a style completely different and new from her previous pieces. She does not say a single word for several minutes, but performs her rituals as nanny. During the action she looks out and takes in every single person in the house, and truly acknowledges their presence. The time she takes to do this establishes the unique relationship between audience and performer, and in some ways, makes people feel uncomfortable-in a good way. She even acknowledges every latecomer who enters the theatre. With her script in hand, she begins to tell nanny's story about a woman who does not have biological children of her own, but has mothered and raised hundreds of people in her village. nanny is a wise soul who asks us huge challenging questions: What do you fight for? What do you fear?  What is the purpose of your life? It's difficult questions like these that define humanity and that we must all deal with, no matter our difference in class, race, or culture.

I urge you to be a part of d'bi young's process and give her your feedback at the end of her show. Share your voice and be a part of the cultural landscape of this city.

nanny: maroon warrior queen is at SummerWorks

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