Review: rock. paper. sistahz Festival (b current)

Nothing seemed quite as apt for this year’s rock.paper.sistahz Festival – May 4th to 11th at Wynchwood Barns – as Roselyn Kelada-Sedra’s, Six and Eight.

Key exchanges of this play under development are text messages spoken aloud. And the theme of this year’s festival:“Old meets New meets Here&Now.”

Like Missed Connections of the New Ideas Festival in 2011, Six and Eight, with the playwright performing across from Adam Bradley, as directed by Taylor Marie Graham, offers old-fashioned epistolary-style romance blended with abrupt, occasionally emotionally ambiguous contemporary electronic communication.

The resulting concoction is, it seems, bittersweet.

Six and Eight also shows a largely unexplored consequence of the present economy: people forced to move away from one another to find work.

As a person familiar with the work mentioned to me before the show, “Sometimes people forget that most plays are written for their own time.”

I totally agree – it was really nice to see work that grapples intelligently with the world we live in.

For me though, the most refreshing work of the evening was a one-woman performance work by Naomi Abiola, titled, Seventh Heaven.

Ms. Abiola performs the work in a Caribbean dialect that just bubbles off the tongue.

I had never heard a language sound quite so musical. Though the French language performances in Espoir by Djennie Laguerrie and Carline Zamar came pretty close.

Espoir, the French word for hope, also a work in development, has the ambitious premise which follows three characters: all women. One who has never left Haiti. One who has left Haiti and returned. And one who has Haitian roots, but never been to Haiti.

Preceding each act of the evening – the first offering Espoir and Seventh Heaven, the second, Six and Eight – was a Juke Joint.

A Juke Joint is a short, improvised musical / movement performance; a cool idea, for sure.

While my theatre partner was definitely not a fan of all the work, I’d still recommend checking out the rock.paper.sistahz Festival. For me, it was a melodic, refreshing night of theatre.

 

Details

– The rock. paper. sistahz Festival is on at Wychwood Barns (601 Christie Street) until May 10th 2012
– Performances begin at 8:00 PM
– Admission is pay what you can
– For more information, please call 416 533 1500 or visit bcurrent.ca