There’s a great pleasure in watching a natural storyteller work. When the stories are related around a theme, they hang together into a show. And when the resulting show hits the overlap of entertainment, education and elucidation, you have One of the Good Ones, a 2021 Toronto Digital Fringe performance written and performed by Yaw Attuah.
Attuah frames the performance around the idea that he wants to talk about his Black life and experience, to non-Black people. The tone is straightforward and affecting; Attuah allows the facts to do the work — like a discussion of the fact that he never once, during elementary through university, had a Black teacher (not surprising, since Black faculty are only 2% of all post-secondary instructors and the numbers aren’t much different in Canadian public schools).
One of the Good Ones — which is plain and clear about being written largely for non-Black audiences — employs this tactic often, giving personal language to experiences that have affected Attuah and then letting the viewer have their feelings about it on their own time. Far from being preachy, Attuah leans pretty far the other way, letting the audience draw their own conclusions from the facts. It’s quite effective educationally speaking, though there were a fair few moments I felt he could have gone a good bit more showbiz and gotten the same effect.
Overall, One of the Good Ones does an effective job of delivering some tough truths about anti-Black racism in Canada, about how allyship works, and about one man’s experiences of being on the sunny side of nearly every “respectability” question and still, endlessly, experiencing anti-Black racism. The performance, the jokes, are the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down, but I’ll be honest and say that I hope a lot of people queue for their dose.
- One of the Good Ones is playing on-demand at the Virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival.
- Purchase a $5 Membership to access the On-Demand programming on the Fringe website, then Pay What You Can to each show as you go with a suggested price of $13 per show.
- Memberships can be purchased here. View the virtual on-demand show listings here.
- Accessibility notes:
- On-Demand shows: videos are closed captioned, transcripts are available for all audio content, documents are screen-reader friendly, and all digital images are provided with alternative text descriptions. These access supplements have been generated by the company and reviewed by the Festival. They may vary slightly from company to company.
- Fringe Primetime presentations will feature Auto-Transcribed Captioning.
- Content Warning: This production contains coarse language and is recommended for an audience ages 14+.