I ate the sandbox produced by ProductionsbyKJ and playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival is a great example of what the Fringe is all about. It’s a one woman show written and performed by Khadijah Jamal, and it is her acting debut. Jamal attended the festival last year for the first time in ten years. It inspired her to write a script. When she saw an ad for the Fringe lottery on her Facebook feed, she took a chance, entered, and was accepted. This show is the result.
In I ate the sandbox, Jamal tells her life story starting in childhood, with a focus on the difficult times. And she has had her share of difficult times. She has a bad marriage to a man who can’t keep a job. Her father dies as she is giving birth to twins. She sinks into a depression and, after the breakup of her marriage, develops some very unhealthy behaviours.
Her stories are interspersed with bursts of song which reflect the mood of the episode she is describing. She’s a pretty good singer too. Jamal’s tone switches between confessional and motivational. She has recently figured things out and has gotten her life together. She says she wants to inspire others with her story. There’s a fair bit of typical self-help language in the script, which isn’t really my thing. But her sincerity came through nonetheless.
While she’s clearly not a trained actress, Jamal had surprisingly good stage presence and was quite compelling. I admire her guts. She wasn’t afraid to share some very painful and unflattering stuff about herself. I also admire her willingness to take the risk of creating something and putting herself out there. That’s really what Fringe is for.
- I ate the sandbox plays at the Tarragon Solo Room. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warning: Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. Check in at the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime, and a staff member will escort you to the venue. Accessible seating is in the front row.
- Wednesday July 5th, 06:30 pm
- Friday July 7th, 08:15 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 03:15 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 06:15 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 10:15 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 02:45 pm
- Friday July 14th, 08:45 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 02:45 pm
Photo of Khadijah Jamal provided by the company