YAGAYAH -- TWO.BLACK.WOMYN.GRIOTS written and performed by debbie young and Naila Belvett, directed by ahdri zhina mandiela. Presented by b current at Artword. August 2 at 9:30 pm, August 4 at 11 pm, August 5 and 12 at 2 pm, August 9 at 8 pm, August 11 at 12:30 pm. Rating: NNNNN
dub poetry is, like theatre, one branch of the storytelling tree, according to writer/performer debbie young. yagayah, the dub-driven piece she's created with Naila Belvett, explores the intertwined lives of two Jamaican women, Mary and Imogene, from childhood through the time when the adult Imogene moves to Montreal.The title yagayah, a word spoken at the end of a reggae or rap show, translates as "thank you." It's also a way of acknowledging the vital role of the listener.
"From its beginning in late-70s Jamaica, dub has been tied to social change," explains young, who moved audiences with her work in the Fringe show Da Kink In My Hair. "This type of art is linked to political thought and action, and the connection comes from a place of passion and love -- of self, humanity and life.
"There's no vacuum between the performer and the art," she continues, her energy and warmth pouring across the phone line. "The music-influenced dub artist shares an implication with what's said onstage."
Steeped in the West African storytelling tradition called griot, Belvett and young use a Yoruba folk tale that parallels the story of the two Jamaican women, whose closeness cuts across social classes.
"We're using Mary and Imogene to examine issues that bubble inside each of us. Our poetry explores identity, sexuality and self-esteem for black women. And it's wrapped up in storytelling, with the added twist that we explore what happens when the storyteller's tale is her own."
OTHER SUMMERWORKS PREVIEWS
RICHARDTHESECOND written and performed by Matthew MacFadzean, directed by Rebecca Brown. Presented by Nation of Aslan at Artword. August 2 at 11 pm, August 5 at 8 pm, August 6 at 3:30 pm, August 9 and 11 at 6:30 pm, August 12 at 5 pm.
S&M* by Gordon Portman, directed by Nicole Stamp, with Duff MacDonald, Sean Tyson and Alison Lawrence. Presented by Seeing the Emperor at the Factory Studio. August 2 at 10:30 pm, August 4 at 2 pm, August 5 at 8 pm, August 6 at 1 pm, August 9 at 10:30 pm, August 11 at 6 pm.
PAGAN LOVE SONGS FOR THE UNINITIATED by Sue Balint, directed by Eric J. Rose, with Darryl Hinds and Alison Jutzi. Presented by Invisible Elephant at the Factory Mainspace. August 2 at 5:30 pm, August 4 at 4 pm, August 5 at 1:30 pm, August 8 at 8:30 pm, August 9 at 11 pm, August 11 at 2:30 pm.
EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON created by the company, directed by Kate Cayley, with Amy Stewart, Janice Rieger and Simone Rosenberg. Presented by Stranger Theatre at the Factory Studio. August 2 at 9 pm, August 4 at 3:30 pm, August 5 and 10 at 6:30 pm, August 7 at 8:30 pm, August 11 at 12:30 pm.
VAN GOGH written and performed by Bill Kischuck. Presented by Whiplash Theatre at Artword. August 3 at 9:30 pm, August 4 at 6:30 pm, August 6 at 12:30 pm, August 7 at 10 pm, August 10 at 8 pm, August 11 at 5 pm.