Arpita Ghosal is a Toronto-based arts writer. She founded Sesaya in 2004.
Baobab May Just Be YOUR Ticket to Everything!
Today on Sunday, October 18th, 2015, my family and I travelled downtown to see a show that featured MORE than you could ever imagine: Baobab. To be completely honest, I went in thinking it was going to be just ok (I don’t know why, judging by the fact that I find ALL of Young People’s Theatre’s (YPT) shows interesting), but I was speechless after seeing this show which features traditional music, African legends, puppets, shadowplay, singing and dancing. I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “sounds good, but LONG!” Actually, it was only 55 minutes! I was never bored for a millisecond of this show, which was also filled with small jokes and interactive segments. You might be thinking, “I’ve heard so many good things . . . Is it perfect?” Almost. There’s only thing that I felt I wanted in the show: a chance to learn more about the characters the actors played, for example, the Humpback Witch and the Monkey. They were great! I just wish there was a chance to learn about them . . . not just what Amando needed from them to complete his 4 tasks in order to release the water. There was not a Q&A session at the end (like there usually is at YPT), but you could talk to the performers, learn about the instruments, and find out how the sound effects were made. Baobab closes Friday, so if you can snag tickets to this gem, do so IMMEDIATELY!
Hana’s Suitcase Left NO Eyes Dry!
Also today, I went to see Hana’s Suitcase, a show that made everyone shed at LEAST a few tears. This show was 95 minutes, including a 10 minute intermission between act I and act II. Whereas Baobab is for people who want a short and sweet show with literally EVERYTHING, Hana’s Suitcase is for someone who is prepared to think (with a box of tissues), and likes an in-depth, serious and thought-provoking dose of reality. A child’s suitcase arrives at the Children’s Holocaust Centre in Tokyo and creates lots of questions with the children there. The curator sets out on an adventure, with many ups and downs to find the incredible and devastating truth about the owner, Hana. Unfortunately, Hana isn’t alive, but her brother is . . . .
Hana’s Suitcase is anything but your average play. This play makes you reflect on things like not sweating the small things in life because people just like Hana had it MUCH worse. And I felt that the suitcase, which Hana carries to Auschwitz and which makes the Japanese children curious to learn her story, is filled with hope that she and we all need to hang onto. I’d be lying if I said we aren’t lucky now, but I’d also be lying if I said our world is perfect, because there are still racists and people who are close-minded and intolerant out there. Get a ticket to see Hana’s Suitcase because you can never get too much information on the Holocaust, especially if we’re going to make sure something like this never happens again. If you already know all about the themes in the play, still pick up a ticket because it’s a heck of a good reminder, a very touching story, and incredibly staged and acted. Hana’s Suitcase has now been shown 4 times at Young People’s Theatre (the first time being 2006)–and I don’t know why this isn’t their 100th time. It’s that outstanding!
News You Can Use
What: Baobab, written and directed by Hélène Ducharme
When: Running until October 23rd , 2015
What: Hana’s Suitcase, written by Emil Sher, directed by Allen MacInnis
When: Running until October 30th, 2015
Where: Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 3Z4
For Information and Tickets: youngpeoplestheatre.ca and 416-862-2222
© 2015 Sayak S-G, Sesaya