Monday, August 28, 2006

Seeing Harlem Duet

I've just been to see Harlem Duet at the Stratford Festival. My review is simply -- you must go. It is an astonishing play; Djanet Sears' writing is crisp and unafraid, lyrical and straightforward. (I suppose that is why it won a Governor General's award in 1998). It talks about modern issues of race, of love, of relationship. As a non-black audience member, I felt I was being let in on a conversation I didn't know much about, and was just as thrilled and informed by the characters' emotional highs and lows as the intellectual issues they brought forward. The small cast of 5 was very strong; the staging made extraordinary use of the space. Karen Robinson, in the main role of Billie, was on stage for nearly the entire play, and she owned it. I don't think I've seen anything which was so moving, both emotionally and intellectually, in a long time. It made me feel excited about theatre, and art, and what they can accomplish. I urge anyone who has the chance to hurry to see it. A wonderful production!

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