A little behind on this post…personal issues and blah blah blah. Not going into things, but this nonsense called real life IS colouring my mood somewhat so we’ll keep this one brief for today.
Anyhoo, a couple days ago I seem to recall being all excited for this months jam-packed theatre goings-on, and I got the ball rolling straightaway by taking in the O-town premiere of AGOKWE at the NAC. Written by and starring Waawaate Fobister, a proud and out Anishinaabe who created this tale with the help of Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times theatre. It’s a rather daring one-manner about the tentative love between two youths from different reservations near Kenora. Narrated, so to speak, by Nanabush, a foul-mouthed and flamboyant trickster-God, Fobister crafts the story about timid Jake and his desire for handsome Mike, a hockey star, who may or may not feel something back. Along the way we meet half a dozen other characters, most enjoyably trashy rez gossip Goose and Mike’s doting mother Betty. It’s in these supporting characters that Waawaate really shines, drawing you in with easy charm. And there’s a rather important message underpinning the whole show, namely that gruesome, virulent intolerance is still very much alive and well, even in our supposedly enlightened land.
Like I said, this is a pretty ambitious show, with an occasionally flashy sound and light show adding to the tale (and a VERY liberal use of the smoke machine…thank goodness I kinda dig the smell of dry ice). And while Waawaate sometimes seems not QUITE a strong enough performer to completely pull off what he’s crafted here, it’s still obvious that this is a story straight from his heart, and that smooths over any rough patches in the delivery. It’s a very funny, occasionally wrenching show, and pretty easy to relate to even if you’re not queer, or native…just being human is more than enough. Waawaate got a standing O on opening night, and I have no doubt the show will only get stronger during it’s 12 day run here. I think you should go see it.
Peace, love and soul, everyone,
The Visitor (and Winston)