Review: I & I, Barrie, Ontario.

by Lynn on August 4, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person outdoors in Sunnidale Park, Barrie, Ontario. Aug. 3-8, 2021.

Written and dramaturged by Daniele Bartolini and Anahita Dehbonehie

Co-created and co-written by Franco Berti, Vik Hovanisian and Dilay Taskaya Irkdas

Directed by Daniele Bartolini and Danya Buonastella

Performed by Dilay Taskaya Irkdas

Vik Hovanisian

Sara Papini

Warning:. This production takes place in a park and partially on trails in the bordering woods. The audience moves from various places in the park to hear different stories and often the ground is uneven or hilly. If you have ambulatory difficulties, I would not recommend seeing this show.

I & I is part of The Bees in the Bush Festival which according to the festival information: “…brings an eclectic collection of theatrical events to various outdoor locations across Barrie, Ontario and the surrounding areas for a summer of memorable experiences….The confrontation of the self of the immigrant before and after leaving their motherland I & I is a poetic, documentary style collection of migration stories, memory treasures and rituals from different cultures where you are invited to get close and personal with a world of newcomers.   Created by Italian born Daniele Bartolini, Italian-Canadian Danya Buonastella and Iranian born Anahita Dehbonehie with a group of newcomer artists, I &I provides an opportunity of encounter for citizens of different cultural backgrounds, shining light on the life experience of newcomers to Canada.”

Our small group gathers at the meeting point in Sunnidale Park. We are asked to read a speech from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, in which Nina talks about being an actress (and not a seagull) and what that means. It was lovely to see that speech again. We were then lead across the grass and into the bordering woods. We are met by Dilay Taskaya Irkdas. She is an actress who trained and worked in Turkey and at one point even played Nina in The Seagull. She recites the speech we read earlier, this time she speaks it in Turkish. Dilay leads us up and down a few trails looking for a particular spot. Then she says she is lost. (My heart sinks because I envision going up and down the trails in search of something). Just as quickly she leads us to a spot that is quite rugged and beautiful. This is what she was looking for. (Then why the coy bit about being lost? It serves no purpose. That reference of being lost should be cut.) Dilay talks about emigrating to Canada but not the reason why she left Turkey, and the difficulty of learning English. She is buoyant and resilient. She leads us to another spot where we sit and wait for Vik Hovanisian.

Music plays from a nearby bush and Vik Hovanisian appears in the foliage wearing a long, flowing black dress and does an interpretive dance. It’s quite impressive and graceful. She tells us quietly about her background, the meaning of her name and that she has lived in various European cities. She is a French and Canadian multidisciplinarian artist who works in several languages—many of which she spoke during her segment. She lead us out of the woods and into the park where we sat in chairs and she sat on the ground and asked us questions to get to know us better. The questions were thoughtful, not intrusive, certainly made us think about things that were important to us, and created a connection to her. Fascinating.

When Vik leaves, Sara Papini appears in the distance in a pristine white long dress coming towards us singing Puccini’s beautiful  “O Mio Babbino, Caro.” She sings while walking away from us and sings another aria before waving good-bye and saying “Ciao.”

As always with a Dopolavoro Teatrale-DLT production, this is fascinating in its execution, content, story and engagement with the audience.  

A Dopolavoro Teatrale – DLT Production

Plays until Aug. 8, 2021.

Running time: 1 hour.

Leave a Comment

Respectful comments are accepted on this site as long as they are accompanied by a verifiable name and a verifiable e-mail address. Posts that are slanderous, libelous or personally derogatory will not be approved.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Myrna Clark August 8, 2021 at 10:18 am

May I have 2 tickets please?