MANDIELA’S DUB ARIA - OBSIDIAN/FACTORY WORLD PREMIERE
Toronto, ON – Thursday, February 18, 2010. who knew grannie: a dub aria, written and directed by ahdri zhina mandiela and produced by Obsidian Theatre Company in association with Factory Theatre, has its world premiere March 18 – April 4, 2010 (with previews on March 13–14 and 16-17). who knew grannie: a dub aria, sponsored by TD Bank Financial Group, is about four cousins who reunite for the burial of their grandmother, the woman who raised them. They go back to Jamaica and reclaim their past and discover who they are through childhood games, songs and powerful memories. On the wings of the symbolic sankofa bird, the cousins go on a powerful cathartic journey full of joy, laughter and pain to the music of the heart and the drums of their homeland. Factory Artistic Director Ken Gass says that the award-winning mandiela “… has a unique muscular poetic voice that drives this imaginative and very theatrical new form, the dub aria.” Visit http://www.obsidian-theatre.com/
Dub poetry is a type of performance poetry that has its roots in spoken word overlaying reggae rhythms. A dub aria goes one step further and replaces the reggae music with human voices and percussion. Obsidian Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Philip Akin (director of Factory Theatre’s Toronto the Good in 2009 and the current remount of Intimate Apparel by Obsidian/Canadian Stage) elaborates, “What we have is a new art form that creates lyricism and music through language and chorale work. And yet this aria form is very accessible and understandable. Repetition and clarity of thought allows any audience to easily follow the story and be surrounded by the rich imagery. Yes, some of it may start off sounding a little different… but listen, release your imagination, let the story sink into your bones and most of all don’t fear the dub. It really isn’t that scary.” u can’t run/run/run from the roots u need to redeem for a future. (Excerpt from who knew grannie: a dub aria by ahdri zhina mandiela).
Mandiela’s who knew grannie: a dub aria cast includes Miranda Edwards (Toronto the Good, The Madonna Painter) as likklebit, Ordena (The Real McCoy; ‘da kink in my hair; Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God) as grannie, Joseph Jomo Pierre (Born Ready; Pusha-Man; Hip-Hop Who Stole the Show) as tyetye, Andrea Scott (For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf; Omnium Gatherum; Kindness) as vilma and Marcel Stewart (Toronto the Good; Theatre of the Film Noir; MacBeth) as kris. Joining them is musician Amina Alfred (blood.claat;‘da kink in my hair; Capturing Freedom) representing the sankofa bird. Julia Tribe is the Set & Costume Designer, Bonnie Beecher is the Lighting Designer, Shauna Japp is the Stage Manager, and Neha Ross is the Apprentice Stage Manager. mandiela’s Assistant Director is Jajube Mandiela. For behind-the-scene blog entries from company theatre artists, see http://whoknewgrannie.blogspot.com/
Performers (l-r): Amina Alfred, Miranda Edwards, Ordena, Joseph Jomo Pierre, Andrea Scott, Marcel Stewart
Widely known as director and poet/performer, mandiela (director of Factory’s Scratch in 2008) has been working in the Canadian arts scene since the late 1970's. She has received both the Luscombe Award for mentoring and the prestigious Dora Mavor Moore Silver Ticket in 2006. In 2007 she also received the Victor Martyn Staunton-Lynch Prize for mid-career theatre artists from Canada Council for the Arts. mandiela is founder and artistic director of the Toronto-based performance art company, b current and is also the creator of rock.paper.sistahz., a festival of new works.
Who knew grannie: a dub aria is 80 minutes in length, with no intermission, and plays Tuesday – Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. (except Sunday, March 14 - 7 p.m. preview) in the Factory Mainspace Theatre. Single tickets run $15 - $35 (discounts for previews, seniors, students or theatre artists as well as groups of ten or more) and may be purchased online at http://www.factorytheatre.ca/
24 hours a day, or by calling (416) 504-9971 or by visiting the Factory Theatre Box Office in person Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., at 125 Bathurst Street (at Adelaide Street), Toronto. In addition, 3–play subscriptions, Pay-What-You-Can Sunday and a limited number of $10 RUSH tickets (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday) are available.