We Are XX (The Regent Collective/Paprika) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

anne_vo_rafia_salam_samay_cajas1

The Regent Collective’s We Are XX is a moving piece about identity, courage, and finding the strength to overcome fear at the 2016 Fringe Festival and it definitely resonated with me.Rafia Afrin Salam, Anne Vo, and Samay Arcentales use monologue, spoken word, and short skits to illustrate their struggles, and the struggles of women of different cultures.

Salam, Vo, and Arcentales use the TTC as a lens through which they illustrate the many different people in the world and how they all come together, most without even realizing how diverse one bus or subway car can be.

The young women also tell specific stories of interactions they have had with respect to their physical appearances and how the ignorance of some people has more of a negative impact than most would realize.

One example was Salam’s interaction with a woman on a bus telling her she has something on her head. Salam internally questions if this woman is rudely referring to her hijab, or something else entirely. This made her momentarily question herself and her view of others, but reaffirmed her healthy self-identity.

I felt Salam, Vo, and Arcentales were strong performers specifically when detailing current issues such as the wage gap and the diversity of its effect on non-Caucasian women.

Their definition of privilege was also excellent and it opened my eyes even wider to things I take for granted, like simply walking down the street unfazed and unfettered, not worrying about being accosted or abused.

I also have to give high marks for how they powered through when a belligerent audience member repeatedly spoke out during the performance and, thankfully, was finally escorted out of the venue. I question why this person was allowed inside in the first place as they were clearly under the influence of something.

Overall, We Are XX was an enjoyable, mind-opening show by some very talented young women who opened themselves on stage, and left an impact that extended beyond the theatre.

Details

  • We Are XX plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (16 Ryerson Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door, and in advance, and can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warning: Mature Language.
  • This venue is NOT wheelchair-accessible.

Performances

  • Friday July 1st, 04:45 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 08:30 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 04:30 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 07:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 01:15 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 09:45 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 05:15 pm
  • Sunday July 10th, 02:15 pm

Photo of Anne Vo, Rafia Afrin Salam, and Samay Arcentales by Taku Kumabe.