(Alternative), 75 Portland St, Toronto, from Nov 9 to Dec 3,
An AfriCan Theatre Ensemble and Artword Theatre
direction and dramaturgy by Ronald Weihs
developed and performed by the ensemble: Seifu Belachew,
Alexandra Drossos, Teddy Masuku, Muoi Nene, Aktina,
Stathaki, Selan Teclu
music direction and performance by Waleed Abdulhamid,
choreography by Muoi Nene
designed by Judith Sandiford, produced by Modupe Olaogun
Tues to Sat at 8 pm $20 regular, students seniors $15,
Sunday galas (Nov 13, 20, 27) at 4 pm $25 includes post-show
reception. For information and groups, call
of Tales is based on a concept shared by many
African cultures: our present life, standing between a life
before birth and a life after death, is a marketplace. We
are in this world to interact with each other, exchanging
our experiences, our dreams, our desires, our
Teddy Masuku (Zimbabwe), Alexandra Drossos (Uganda), Aktina
Stathaki (Greece), Selam Teclu (Eritrea), Seifu Belachew
(Ethiopia), Muoi Nene (Kenya)
of Tales is a new work of theatre created by the
AfriCan Theatre Ensemble. It uses elements of African
storytelling, freely adapting them and incorporating
elements of African performance styles such as masquerade.
The stories are from many cultures, and include folk
tales, personal accounts, history, dramatic vignettes,
story-songs, dance-drama, poems - any of the myriad ways of
telling a story. They draw on varied storytelling
traditions, incorporating many kinds of dance, music and
song. The effect is to demonstrate the rich diversity of
human experience, and the common threads that unite all of
early morning. The stage is in constant movement. Suddenly,
there is a request for a story. The storyteller begins the
storyteller's traditional call: Hadithi, hadithi!
stories begin. The ensemble members form a loose semi-circle
(half of an imaginary circle embracing the audience).
Whoever is involved in the story being told moves into the
centre; there is fluid movement between performers and
observers. Drumming, dancing song and musical accompaniment
weave through the action.
the stories are mythic in scope: the origins of violence, of
desire, of suffering. Then we have stories about human life,
funny, tragic, sometimes instructive. As we move toward the
present, there are stories from recent history, stripped of
their detail to expose their essential meanings.
the sad and beautiful tale of a woman who lays her baby
in the shade while she is working in the field with other
women. An eagle comes, but instead of harming the child, he
shelters it. The woman's husband tries to shoot the eagle,
and instead kills his own child. From this time forward, his
descendants are destined to kill each other.
we move to a story from Kenya about the strife between two
ancient tribes, descended from two brothers. It tells of a
great hero, invincible like Achilles, who is wreaking
devastation on the other tribe. They send a woman to him,
who seduces him and finds his secret - he can only be
wounded through his shadow. When the warriors try to kill
him, however, they fail. The woman sets a trap for him and
succeeds, for she has figured out his secret - it is his
shadow in the moonlight that is vulnerable.
African repertoire of trickster stories, a rabbit leads a
revolt against tyrants.
away from myth and folktale to real stories of today. And a
story of politics that turns into a story of love.