I was fortunate enough to be given complimentary tickets for the opening night performance of blood.claat at the Great Canadian Theatre Company last night, just for being a blogger. Not only that, but GC and I got the best seats in the house: front row, center.
I’m going to tell you something about me: I’m not very good at interpreting art. Be it novels, plays, movies, whatever, I tend to be too literal. Metaphors elude me. I have trouble making implied connections; I need things to be spelled out for me. I often find myself at the end saying “What happened?” and having to google it to find out. And I’m not just talking about David Lynch-style movies, where nobody else gets it either.
So with that in mind, let me say that I think blood.claat is about the cyclical rhythms of life itself. The menstrual cycle figures prominently, and is a metaphor for bloodlines and history repeating itself from generation to generation.
We all know our children are bound to make mistakes, but there is a peculiar anguish in seeing them repeat our mistakes. The main character in this play is a 15-year-old Jamaican girl, Mudgu, balanced precariously on the razor edge of girlhood and womanhood, being forced to repeat history.
blood.claat is a one-woman show, and that one woman is an extraordinary chameleon. Her name is d’bi.young anitafrika. She both wrote and performed this play. I was mesmerized by the sheer range of her abilities, and by her acting agility. When she switched back and forth between the roles of 15-year-old Mudgu and her boyfriend, for instance, it was the most incredible thing. It wasn’t like she was playing these roles. She was a 15-year-old-girl. She was a 20-year old boy. She was a granny, a religious auntie, a tribal warrior, a Canadian border guard – she was all of them, and more, transforming herself instantly and seamlessly from one into the next.
The story itself is a powerful and evocative one. It demands a lot from the audience, emotionally. There are some disturbing scenes, but there is also a great deal of wit, which helps to rebalance the mood. I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say the future holds promise, as always.
While it stands alone, Blood.claat is the first in a trilogy of plays written by d’bi.young.After the show, d’bi.young’s little boy, Moon, wandered onto the set looking for his mom. She was backstage changing, so he played with the sword prop. He looks to be about five or six years old and is very, very cute.
Blood.claat – one oomaan story – is playing at the Great Canadian Theatre Company until March 21. Half the proceeds from the March 16th show will be donated to the relief effort in Haiti. To purchase tickets, please visit www.gctc.ca or call the box office at 613-236-5196.