FRIDAY MAY 6 – FESTIVAL NIGHT 4
Ouroboros Project by Emma Laishram
Emma Laishram – Playwright/Performer/Co-Producer
Rohit Chokhani – Director/Dramaturg/Co-Producer
Ouroboros is a one woman play in creation that showcases a culture never before seen on a Canadian stage. Inspired by an ancient folk tale about a warrior queen, passed on only through oral tradition for hundreds of years in the valleys of Manipur, India, Ouroboros challenges the necessity for tradition, lights a match to patriarchal ideology, navigates through the smoke of identity, and sifts through the ashes to discover meaning in separation. This fictional play, inspired by true events, explores an Indo Canadian womans personal struggle to reconnect with her Manipuri heritage, her experience of growing up as a biracial Canadian, and parallels it with a story of a Manipuri heroine who transcends tradition, and religion to survive. Ouroboros explores ascension to the divine feminine and returns to an ancient form of storytelling to create a mythology for the next generation of Canadians searching for belonging in a rootless place.
Ouroboros Collective comprises of Emma Laishram and Rohit Chokhani. Emma Laishram graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada and holds a BA in Theatre Performance from Dalhousie University. She has performed across Canada as an actor, and most recently with Saskatoon theatre company, Ground Cover Theatre in their new play, Displaced, nominated for Best English text and Best English Production at the Montreal Fringe. She recently completed a month long intensive with Ratan Thiyam’s Chorus Repertory Theatre in Manipur, India to train in Manipuri dance, singing, and tang-ta. Rohit is the 2015/16 Producer in Residence at the National Arts Centre – English Theatre, Apprentice Director at Bard on the Beach 2016 and an Artistic Producer for Diwali Fest and South Asian Arts Society based out of BC. He recently launched a sector development initiative called Project SAT to help support South Asian themed theatre projects in Canada.
CLASS by Shakura Dickson
Shakura Dickson – Creator
CLASS follows students on their first day of school at Horace University in South Carolina. Horace is a Historically Black college (HBCU), a mecca of blackness filled with students from all over the vast African Diaspora. HBCUs are an integral part of black culture in the United States, providing a different perspective on education for black students. Throughout history, civil rights leaders, revolutionaries and important black figures have attended HBCUs from Spelman to Howard. Welcome to day one, freshman year. Students pack up their cocoa butter, lace up their Jordans and make sure their edges are laid. We meet Jasmine, the bougie Southern belle, Malik, the class clown straight outta Oakwood and Calvin, the smalltown revolutionary. CLASS explores the resilience of black culture and black people when students are forced to deal with the aftermath of police brutality.
Shakura is a Toronto based actor and writer. Her roots are in the 6ix but her heart is in Jamaica. Shakura grew up making characters and writing stories and is thrilled/terrified to be sharing her work for the first time with rock.paper.sistahz. Shakura graduated from Sheridan College’s Music Theatre performance program. Previous acting credits include Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play (Outside the March, Assistant Director), Everybody Loves Sealand (Toronto Fringe 2015), Spring Awakening (Theatre Sheridan). Look for her in Fringe 2016’s production of Women. She believes in transformative justice and wants to learn to use her craft to speak on issues that affect her community. rock.paper.sistahz is especially important to Shakura because she is still finding and appreciating her identity as a black woman. To be invited into this space to create and share is a true blessing.
This will be a 15 minute condensed presentation of ACT ONE.
The Midnight Birth by All-Ever and Kim Henry
The Midnight Birth, a unique fusion of rap, contemporary dance and projections, toured Montreal, Magog, Toronto and Wakefield, reaching over 1,100 audience members live and 270,000 more through TV, radio and newspaper interviews. The show breaks the respective cultural and aesthetic boundaries of urban and contemporary art. The songs’ music, poetry and messages resonate in a powerful and evocative way through the dancer’s body and projections, bringing a striking visual dimension. Humorous at times, tragic at others, the piece stimulates and entertains while making its audience reflect. Comprised of original songs from The Midnight Birth album, the show seeks to break some of its genre’s stereotypes, which generally come from the commercial rap industry. It deals with sexism, gangsterism, bullying, suicide, socio-political apathy, dysfunctional relationships between men and women as well as women’s hyper-sexualization, among other themes. The show is thus targeted to a wide audience, more particularly adults and teenagers.
All-Ever, born Oliver Koomsatira, has performed over 1000 times in 180 film, theatre, TV, dance productions and TV commercials reaching 450,000 audience members across Canada and the US. He’s the recipient of the Elsa Bolam Award (2008) in Recognition of Outstanding Achievement by an Emerging Theatre Artist as well as the Outstanding Ensemble Award (My Entertainment World – 2015) for Factory Theatre’s Banana Boys. He’s been writing and performing rap since 2000. TV credits include playing a 6er gang member in 19-2 (Bravo/CTV) as well as TV commercials for Videotron (TVA) and La Régie des rentes du Québec. During her training at l’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, Kim Henry received 2 Excellence grants as well as the Hnatyshyn Foundation grant. She danced in pieces created by Sylvain Émard, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Fred Gravel, Dana Gingras and Serge Bennathan. Since her graduation, she danced in more than 25 productions for Montréal Danse, Mélanie Demers (Fly), Lucie Grégoire, Audrey Bergeron, Fleuve-Espace Danse, Isabelle Boulanger, Willy Dorner (FTA), Festival Complètement Cirque, Dynamo Theatre, Théâtre de la Dame de Coeur, Cirque du Soleil’s Red Carpet.
8:00-10:00PM, doors 7:30PM
Location: Wychwood Theatre