BLOOD.CLAAT by d'bi.young (Theatre Passe Muraille/Obsidian). Runs through November 27. See Continuing. Rating: NNN
I've always been drawn to two wonderful things about writer/performer d'bi.young . She has amazing energy and a smile that fills the stage.
Both are evident in blood.claat , the final Stage 3 presentation, in which a young Jamaican woman learns the power of blood - bloodlines, menstrual blood and blood shed in violence.
In this "one womban story," young deftly becomes several characters physically and verbally, beginning with her striking entrance as Yemoja, an African god who creates the world with her blood. The actor/playwright then morphs into Mudgu, the work's central figure, who has trouble dealing with her recent period but not her crush on the similarly interested Johnny, her strutting neighbour who knows how to use cool moves for a smooth seduction.
Mudgu's grandmother and oh-so-religious aunt are the ones who fill her head with negative ideas about menstrual blood, but her mother - who lives in Canada, a world away from Mudgu - teaches her the importance of the monthly blood claat (or blood cloth), with its ancient healing connections.
It's the men in the show who are associated with the violent spilling of blood, from a stuttering bus conductor to an abusive uncle, while the ancestral women, including Queen Nanny, who led the Jamaican Maroons in their battles against their white oppressors, are sources of positive strength.
Director/dramaturge Weyni Mengesha and young have nicely fleshed out the script since its SummerWorks version, making transitions clearer and defining the mythic, historic and contemporary worlds in which each character appears.
The music and vocals of amina alfred also enhance the production, which ends on a celebratory note, putting blood, quite properly, at the centre of life.