Tag Archives: Yukon Arts Centre

Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of

Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of is many things. It is a stinging indictment towards police brutality, It is a deep look into race relations in modern day Canada, It a an ardent love letter towards rap and hip hop, it is an emotionally intense drama, But one thing that all of these parts build to is that it is one of the best shows of the year.

The play follows the rap group Sal Copone as they react to the death of there DJ in a brutal police shooting. The play is narrated by Shey Ney Ney a crossdressing prostitute. He discusses the central issues of the play in a way that is both profane and poetic. The lead character is Sal a young black man who leads the group. He is utterly shocked by what happens to Freddy, the groups DJ who was shot by the police and begins the play hiding away in his room writing. Jewel is a young woman who also raps in the group. She is aggressive angry, sarcastic and my favorite character. Chase handles the business end of the band and tries to remain in denial about the injustices that the police’s actions show. Freddy’s little sister Naimi is very young and a little naive. She worries about what her big brother is doing in the aftermath of his friend’s death.

The play deals with a lot of issues. Including: police brutality and how it intersects with racism, Canada’s reputation as an egalitarian paradise and the many ways it is unearned, sexism and homophobia. Despite covering all of this territory in a relatively short play the characters never feel like there preaching to the audience. It all sounds like what the characters would say in the situation their in.

 

Another refreshing thing about the play is that very few scenes are only dramatic or only funny. Even in scenes that are mostly fun and humorous have a tragic tinge to them and even sad scenes have a bit of humor. This is very true to life. Very often people find humor in even the most tragic of circumstances.

 

(This paragraph contains spoilers) One of the most interesting elements of the play is how it subverts the usual structure of a tragedy.  Traditionally tragedy is not really an unjust genre. The Traditional tragic Hero misbehaves because of a tragic flaw. At the end of the play because they could not overcome this flaw they are punished. In this play that is not the case. No one really has a specific tragic flaw, and in the end It is Sal, who arguably has the best balance between level headiness and justice who suffers the worst while Chase who arguably acts the worst out of all the characters and escalated the situation to this point is comparatively unscathed. There is a simple reason for this: Sal is black and Chase is white. A traditional tragedy leaves the audience feeling sad yes, but also very satisfied. This play leaves the audience angry at the status quo that allows such injustice and that is a very important feeling.

 

The acting is phenomenal. You feel like your there with the actors. Seth Whittaker is phenomenal as Sal. He perfectly captures all of the character’s emotions, his anger at his friend’s death, his guilt, his intelligence and artistic talent, and his protectiveness towards his little Sister. Leitia Brooks  is also great in the role of Sal’s little sister Naomi. She really captures both the character’s naiveté and her intelligence. The two actor’s chemistry is perfect as well. They both act like a real brother and sister. Kim Villagante is amazing in the Role of Jay. She captures the characters’ anger but also her general emotional openness and sadness at her friend’s death.Jordan Waunch  is great in the role of Chase. He brings a certain charm and wit to what is ultimately a very difficult character.  Finally, Troy Emery Twig is phenomenal in the role of Sheneyney. He captures the character’s camp mannerisms and snark but also the character’s fear about the way the authorities treat him and his kindness.

 

Overall this is a really powerful and important play and shows why we need diversity not only when it comes to the actors we cast but also the creators we promote.

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The Damage Is Done

The Damage is Done is a intelligent examination of family hidden sadness and how our past can shape us while also being very funny and hopeful for the future. The play is a two person performance staring Rita Bozi who also co-wrote the play and Gabor Mate. The play is very meta in the way it unfolds. both characters are completely aware that they are in a play and addressing the audience. but as the story continues the play evolves as the two characters decide to take it in a different direction. it goes from being an attempt to deliver an essay to something more akin to a therapy. Rita begins talking more about how the history of her country formed who she is but as time goes on it begins to talk about how her relationship with her family has made her who she is. Since this is not a fictional story but, her actual family history it is very personal and the audience can’t help but be drawn in themselves. on the night I went to the show the audience was asked how they responded to the play and almost all of the audience members who talked spoke of how the play reminded them of their own experiences.

Rita Bozi is the stand out performer in this play. She plays herself and her performance is very energetic expressing the emotion she feels perfectly throughout the play, for both humorous and tragic effect. however even more impressive is how she takes on the roles of the important people in her life some of whom were men. Gabor Mate who serves as foil to all of her performances by remaining very stoic but also very empathetic.

One of the key themes of the play is that although our past does have a great effect on who we are it doesn’t mean that our lives are hopeless. The Damage is Done reflects on some very important issues in a very emotionally powerful way. Its run at the Yukon Arts Centre ends tonight but if you have any chance to catch it at any other point during its tour I highly recommend it.

Terminus

Terminus is utterly unlike any play I have seen before. It tells an amazing story of spirits, treachery, guilt and murder. The story is told by three alternating narrators, none of whom have names. They are listed in the programme as “A” “B” and “C.” Each of them performs monologues that make up an interconnected story. They tell their stories in a really fantastic way. Each of them narrates there monologue in a lyrical way reminiscent of slam poetry. The most impressive element to this is that in narrating these stories, they also have to inhabit other characters than the narrator, and are not only able to do this, but are able to keep the one character who speaks in two different characters’ stories totally consistent in their voice and mannerisms.

The set design is very simple but also very impressive. There is a web of material surrounding a small raised platform which the narrator speaks from. In a different play, this might end up being constraining. However, in this play the characters utterly dominate the small space they’re given, their words reaching out and grabbing the audience.

The acting is absolutely amazing. “A” is played by Sarah Dodd. “A” is a guilt-ridden mother and teacher who, upon hearing that one of her former students is pregnant and in a lot of trouble, rushes to help her. Dodd really captures the characters sadness at how events in her past have turned out, while also doing a great job at showing the characters’ anger and consternation at some of the events that are unfolding. Although the characters’ sadness is more apparent in some scenes, there are a lot of scenes where her grief is still present but is more subtle and buried. She is also a great physical actress. This can be seen in the parts of the play where she is attacked by the other characters, and her mimed reactions to the physical attack are extremely realistic, despite the fact that she is alone onstage.

Nicola Elbro plays “B”, a lonely young woman who, after going to an ill-fated party, befriends a demon. Elbro gives an energetic performance as the events surrounding her become more and more fantastical. She really captures the bitterness that her character feels at the beginning of the story and the newfound joy she finds as it goes on, as well as her fear as events that are out of her control take place. She also performs a secondary character, the demonic soul searching for its treacherous body. The voice that she uses for the character, as well the fantastic dialogue, make the soul a very memorable character.

This paragraph contains a minor spoiler if you have read the advertising for the play, you will already know about this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Adam Lazarus plays “D”, a frustrated loner who has sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a beautiful singing voice but has found that he is still too shy to use it. Now being filled with frustration and bitterness, he has become a traveling serial killer who chiefly murders women. His performance is especially compelling because when the character first appears he seems timid, even sweet. When he reveals his true self to the audience, it is truly terrifying. His mixture of psychotic glee and the occasional, almost childlike petulance, makes him both entertaining and terrifying. What makes the character especially interesting is that despite his insane nature, he has moments of clarity about how the world around him that make him doubly fascinating.

Terminus is a high-quality, lyrical urban fantasy with a beautiful script and wonderful acting. It will play for two more days. You should buy a ticket at the earliest opportunity.

The God That Comes

The god that comes is a passionate ode to chaos and alcohol. It tells the story of a kingdom run by a king obsessed with order and control. He doesn’t like how his people go off in the night for the worship of the god of alcohol and sex Bacchus. The story is told twice. First it is told in the form of a monologue at the beginning of the play and than through the music. This makes the exact plot very clear so that the audience can focus on more important details such as the theme of self discovery and in the second telling it can show the consequences of the story. Despite the play being named after Bacchus and his big song being VERY memorable the real focus is the king and how he learns about himself. In the beginning he is utterly repressed and tyrannical. However as the play goes on he confronts his secret desire to cross dress. This serves as a greater metaphor for how he spends his entire life trying to appear “strong” but this desperation to hide his real desires in fact makes him weak.

The music is very well done doing a great job of capturing the emotions of every moment. Hawksley Workman is a great performer because of how well he incorporates singing, playing his instruments and acting. The acting is especially impressive because he has to balance three characters: the rules obsessed king, his loving but freedom seeking mother and Bacchus god of wine. Sometimes later in the play I ended up mildly confused between the two male characters but it was infrequent.

The story hits as lot of different notes. At first it is comedic but as it goes on it becomes more dramatic and tragic. The comedy is never quite abandoned it is just mixed with the tragic elements. It is admirable how the play doesn’t hide the fairly brutal consequences of its title characters actions, but still shows in the beginning how important what he brings is to the world. His swirling world of chaos is something the repressed and miserable characters need. And it is a metaphor for our own world, were many people still feel repressed and out of touch with what Bacchus offers. We certainly shouldn’t go as far as he goes in this story but our society has very little balance between order and chaos and that balance is essential. The story gives two sides to the story neither fully right or wrong because what the world really needs is balance and both of the main two characters are a extreme example of one side. Representing order is the king who is a repressed tyrant who oppresses anyone who doesn’t fulfill his idea of what people “should” be doing even if they aren’t hurting anyone. Meanwhile on the side of chaos Bacchus is a dancing prancing fun, but insane and occasionally cruel god. He is preferable to the king in that he frees rather than oppresses but he is still more than capable of causing death and pain.

The god that comes is a sometimes funny sometimes tragic look at society and at the same time a fascinating character study. It will be running for one more night, at the Yukon arts center. It is recommended.

Justice

I just saw the play justice tonight. In a word…wow. This play is a beautiful effective work of theater. It tells the story of a misunderstanding that leads to death. it is based off actual history. One of the things i loved about this play was that it did not cast anyone as a definite villain. I was expecting that someone would be demonized as sadly so often the case in historical fiction. However everyone in the play was a person genuinely trying to do the right thing. It is the only modern play to use the soliloquy which I love. All the characters are real and well written, i particularly loved the elder of the two minors. It is also extremely well acted. it is one of the most emotionally effecting plays I’ve seen which you can probly tell from this stream of consciousness . it will be here for one more night at the Yukon arts center. I strongly recommend you buy a ticket. You won’t be disappointed.