Mixed Chick is a one woman Toronto Fringe show, written & performed by Toronto’s Coko Galore. The opening performance was nearly sold-out, and those assembled were very energetic and responsive to Galore and her material. This beautifully arranged, funny and well-articulated show explores the politics of identity in the life of a biracial woman whose ancestry is proudly African AND Chinese. Surrounded by those who seek to categorize and limit her, she strives to make her way in the world in a manner that feels personally authentic.
Galore is, after all, a woman who enjoys eating her fried plantains with chopsticks. She reflects wonderingly on the manner in which people have always made assumptions about her, either seeming fundamentally confused by or disapproving of her, or insisting they know who and what she is when she’s still try to sort that out herself.
The text of the show is finely-tuned and tight, the use of the stage nicely choreographed, and the performance as a whole is amazingly well organized from beginning to end. There’s attention to detail here, and it’s clear that a lot of hard work went into crafting this performance.
With a small gesture, dance move or facial expression, Coko Galore has the ability to evoke entire emotional states and situations. That’s no small talent. Indeed, it’s remarkable to witness. She has great physicality, and shows amazing humour and fluidity within the shortest of dance routines.
Give her a trio of words and she can outline whole periods in her childhood, whether it’s “piano lessons, lemon tea, & sugar cubes,” or “Orange Fanta, fried plantains & burned rice.” Give her one word, and she can deftly capture her mother’s entire personality. That’s some feat!
While some elements of the story seem unique to the experiences of biracial people, others are more universal coming-of-age challenges. While Galore powerfully alludes to her high school years as being a ‘battlefield of blackness,’ adolescence is a trial by fire for many of us. She was the biracial girl from Scarborough who loved Snoop Dogg and ‘Jagged Little Pill,’ while I was the white girl from Mississauga who loved Public Enemy and 80s power ballads.
There’s a lot of this common ground in Coko Galore’s story; it’s an accessible, very human story that is relatable for a diverse cross-section of people. While there are painful revelations, Mixed Chick is a story chock full of wise and very funny moments that show what weird and wonderful beings we really are. Well done!
- Mixed Chick is playing until July 12 at the Factory Theatre Studio (125 Bathurst Street at Adelaide)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
July 04 at 08:45 PM
July 06 at 03:00 PM
July 07 at 08:15 PM
July 09 at 09:15 PM
July 10 at 02:15 PM
July 12 at 03:30 PM
Photo of Coko Galore by Hannah Donegan.