Concordia Theatre students write and perform a piece of their own in three month’s time
theatre preview by Katrina Tortorici
Concordia University’s very own theatre department star in Who/Nani/Qui, an unconventional play that explores the various ways in which people identify themselves and each other, touching upon social, cultural, artistic, linguistic differences, starting today and runs until Nov. 28 at Concordia in the MB building, room 7-270.
“In developing the piece, our ensemble played with the notion that we can perform in character as each other,” said director, Rachael Van Fossen, also founder of Common Weal Community Arts and artistic director of Black Theatre Workshop from 2001- 2005. “Through these performances, we were able to uncover both differences and commonalities that go beyond the more obvious markers of identity.”
Production began in September, without much as a script to follow. The performers instead were inspired by the simple question, “Who am I?” and were thus challenged to bring forth their own creative ideas and individual experiences, which eventually snowballed into an “ensemble creation piece,” as Van Fossen opts to describe it.
“It has comic moments and some difficult, heavier material, as well, based largely on stories brought forward by members of the ensemble during our creation period,” she said.
Who/Nani/Qui also includes dance, song and storytelling, which altogether posed as an added challenge to student performers. But what was most difficult, according to the students, was being forced to work with a collaborative piece, rather than a set script to follow.
“It wasn’t always easy. In my opinion, not having a full script to work from or a clear idea of what’s going on is daunting for an actor; we typically need reassurance as to what we are doing and why, so needing to let go of my ‘actor’s ego’ and just trusting the process was difficult,” theatre student, Cassandre Mentor, said.
After revealing how proud Van Fossen is of her cast and crew and crediting all of the tremendously hard work that has been contributed, she encouraged the public to witness the magnum opus with these last words:
“I do think the show is courageous and provocative…I believe that audiences will leave [it] feeling thoroughly entertained. I also think people will leave still reflecting upon the ideas, the stories, and the stories’ meanings to their own lives – to our worlds.”
Who/Nani/Qui will be playing at 8:00 p.m., from Saturday to Thursday, while the Matinee will be on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Performance times are subject to change, so confirm the schedule at theatre.concordia.ca. before reaching the box office (514-848-2424 ext. 4742) – tickets are on sale for $5 for students and $10 for adults.
Break a leg, Concordia. And for the rest of you, enjoy the show.