An article in yesterday's Globe and Mail singled out some highlights so far of this year's SummerWorks Theatre Festival in Toronto, on through this Sunday. I was very pleased to see that the show that most affected writer Martin Morrow was Donna-Michelle St. Bernard's Salome's Clothes.
Though I haven't seen the play performed, I have read it, as I was recently commissioned to write an introduction to it for an anthology of Canadian postcolonial drama in which St. Bernard's work will be included, and which will be published by Playwrights Canada Press later this fall. So I feel warranted in vouchsafing Morrow's assessment: the play is at once a harrowing domestic tragedy about a too-proud mother and the young daughters she sacrifices and a subtle political allegory about the global economic indebtedness of Côte d'Ivoire.
On the latter front, it is also worth mentioning that St. Bernard, the award-winning playwright of Gas Girls, artistic director of New Harlem Productions, and former managing director of Native Earth Performing Arts, is already about a dozen plays into her "54-ology," her ambitious project to write a work of performance for each of the countries in Africa. She has so far proved that hers is a singular dramatic voice we cannot afford to ignore. Just as we cannot ignore the continent St. Bernard has made her subject.
Salome's Clothes runs at Theatre Passe Muraille's main space for four more performances.