More from SummerWorks: Almeida (The Glorious) and O Nosso Fado

by Lynn on August 7, 2017

in The Passionate Playgoer

Two shows presented by young performers dealing with weighty issues and both are well worth a look.

Almeida (The Glorious)

Created and performed by the participants of the Amy Project:

Nicole Acaso
Adri Almeida
Zeynab Egbeyemi
Xenamay Gezahegn
Destiny Laldeo
Karis Jones-Pard
Jamie Milay
Caroline Manjaly
Rafiat Olusanya
Morgan Paradise
Kaitlyn Rodgers
Fatima Adam
Bessie Cheng

Directed by Julia Hune-Brown and Nikki Shaffeeullah

The AMY Project is a free performing arts training program serving youth, women and non-binary youth. It is a wonderful initiative that creates productions that are challenging, informative, and bracing. Almeida (The Glorious) is a case in point.

The group of young performers bring their own stories of ancestry, culture, body image and life challenges to create the show. The stories are full of difficult experiences, slights, episodes of bullying, feelings of isolation and uncertainty. It is sobering to hear but the cast is so committed and confident in their telling there is not a trace of self-pity or insecurity. Instead, there is humour, generosity and buoyant assuredness. What is so evident is that this group is cherished, both by their families and the organizers of the AMY Project, and the result is a group that feels safe enough to voice their innermost concerns and secrets. Bravo to young people—they are our best teachers.

O Nosso Fado

This was presented by students of Loretto College School in partnership with the Sears Ontario Drama Festival.

Written by Kathy Martinez
Directed by Sara Pedrosa

NOTE: I so wish there was a program to give proper credit to the performers and the wonderful Fado singer.

This is a look at the experience of first generation Canadians towards their working class parents, in this case, mothers, who do cleaning work in an office building. Lucy is 12 and is taken to work with her mother Maria because she can’t stay home alone. Lucy feels resentment and embarrassment towards her mother and the others because they can’t speak English well, they hold on to their memories of ‘back home’, and are taken advantage of by the management. The women need rubber gloves to protect their hands that have been damaged by the chemicals they have to use to clean. Management gives them the run-around and takes advantage of their lack of English. The women are afraid to protest and complain to the union because they fear they will loose their jobs. Finally, the women rally and twelve year old Lucy leads the charge.

The story packs a punch and makes us look and pay attention to those we take for granted.

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