The Arts

Obsidian Theatre/Factory Theatre – ahdri zhina mandiela’s who knew grannie: a dub aria

Obsidian Theatre/Factory Theatre –  ahdri zhina mandiela’s who knew grannie: a dub aria featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

I finally caught who knew grannie: a dub aria, written and directed by ahdri zhina mandiela, and it is very ambitious theatre. The format is dub poetry – a dense language full of wonderful turns of phrase and imaginative word images, spoken or sung over percussion, and emotionally operatic.

Four cousins come together to bury their grandmother in rural Jamaica. Three of them are off island in the Caribbean diaspora. They have not all been successful in their lives. The fifth voice is their remarkable grandmother who raised them, and Ordena’s performance is heart-grabbing in her simplicity and goodness.

It is not possible to catch every word because of the accents and the poetry, but the play is best enjoyed by allowing the powerful words to sweep over you like a piece of classical music. The cast is strong and Julia Tribe’s minimalist set is beautifully evocative.

who knew grannie: a dub aria continues at Factory Theatre until Apr. 4.

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who knew grannie: a dub aria
Obsidian Theatre/Factory Theatre
Written and directed by ahdri zhina mandiela
Starring Miranda Edwards, Ordena, Joseph Pierre, Andrea Scott, Marcel Stewart and percussionist Amina Alfred
Factory Theatre, Mar. 13 to Apr. 4, 2010

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