Piece of Mine Festival: Worth More Than Ticket Price
Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013
Thought provoking material, captivating talent, a full house and what felt like raw passion, filled the Palmerston Library Theatre on the opening night of Piece of Mine. The audience laughed and cheered at the festival, founded by Natasha Adiyana Morris, which successfully provided a platform for both emerging and established artists to showcase their work.
Other Side of the Game, written by Amanda Parris and Keisha Monique, began the evening. With a simple set, including lights, four chairs and Monique delivering narration, Amanda Parris, alongside Ania Soul, Kayla Carter and Shomari Downer, clearly demonstrated the current struggle many individuals and families in the black community face.
The concept of institutional control was questioned when Danté, played by Downer posed questions about the correctional system, and whether it is a tool that brings positive consequence or hinders growth, creates broken spirits, shattered homes and a loss of ambition. The script dynamically incorporated love, friendship and revolution as well.
“It’s a research informed project, so we’ve interviewed multiple people in order to write this script,” said Parris in the Q&A session that followed. “And this is a larger project we are trying to develop; which will also include a documentary exploring the stories of women who live by ride or die philosophies.”
The play was performed with scripts in hand, and eye contact from the actors was lost from time to time, occasionally creating some disconnection. However, as Parris stated, “this was a reading, so it wasn’t a produced version at all. We only started writing two months ago, we only did two rehearsals to do this.” Impressed, the audience cheered for yet another time.
Motion and DJ L’Oqenz hit the stage shortly after with a commanding spoken word performance, that included fresh beats, rhythm and melody. Motion was verbally commanding of the audience members. The simple layout of records, a boom box, a trumpet and some props set an intimate mood and DJ L’Oqenz timed herself beautifully, musically mirroring Motion’s lead. The music set a tone, and Motion would deliver a similar performance, creating double the impact. Reggae beats filled the theatre as positive emotion resonated through her. She deepened her voice, and recollected memories such as becoming a mother and the journey of her childhood, which had a profound impact on the audience.
Audience member Carolann left the theatre saying, “I am just blown away, so worth the $12, worth a whole lot more actually.”
Words By. Dinusha Wijemanne
Audience interaction important element on second day of festival Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera, written and performed by Sebastien Heins and Half N’ Half, written and performed by Natasha Adiyana Moris showed on the second night of the festival. Both plays were well received by the audience with a standing ovation at the end of each show.
Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera is a fast-paced, hour-long, one-man show that tells the story of brothers who have a falling out after becoming successful rappers. Performed by Heins who plays multiple characters, including rappers/brothers Cash Money and Money Pussy. The entire show is written in rhyme, giving it a feeling of an hour-long music video that jumps from present day, to the 1970s and finally 30 years later.
“It started off as a 15-minute show, but I really wanted to expand it. With five or six different journals filled with rhymes, I was able to create the show,” said Heins in the Q&A session after his performance. He was the recipient of the Best Emerging Artists award at the NYC United Solo Festival for this show.
Half N’ Half, performed by Morris, is an hour-long show that talks about the pressure women face in trying to please the opposite sex. The audience also becomes a live studio audience for The R Word, a show that gives advice on relationships from its’ host, Dr. Bitter. The show constantly jumps from the R Word to a story of a woman’s experience in dealing with men. A scene that stands out is the reenactment of a girl losing her virginity at 15. She is let down by the experience and begins to tell us about how abusive her lover is.
What really stood out about Half N’ Half is how interactive the show was whether it was a musical performance that required the audience to sing the lyrics of a song or spectators getting a chance to ask questions to Dr. Bitter. This is a huge risk because it can turn out to be a boring part of the show, and yet it was the funniest part.
Both performances were very entertaining and when the show was over, they left the audience with many topics to think about.
Words By. Cameron DaSilva