Out of Town

Factory Theatre Streams acts of faith, Finding Salvation in its Finely Shaped Story

Factory Theatre Streams acts of faith, Finding Salvation in its Finely Shaped Story

Storytelling is an artform in itself. It requires, or at least asks for, a diving in, and a complete surrender. When done well, with the pure essence and smell of a miracle, the result is heavenly and intoxicating. And just like the main character in Factory Theatre‘s magnificent new one-person play, acts of faith, the multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee (lady in the red dresscarried away on the crest of a wave) finds his way dynamically through the complex smell of duplicity and turpentine, with a few well placed updated movie references, to a place that is both effortlessly clever and emotionally stunning. While riding the back pew of power with a rarely blinking eye on the heart and soul of the matter at hand, acts of faith delivers the timely tale as potently as “John truly loves Jesus“. It finds complete success in its journey, transporting us carefully and cleanly from the African Copperbelt to the lake-side remoteness of Muskoka’s wilderness with a powerful ease and a well crafted, righteous determination. 

Natasha Mumba in acts of faith, Photo by Dahlia Katz.

As directed tightly by the focused Nina Lee Aquino (Nightwood/Obsidian Theatre’s School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play), this phenomenal new play, written specifically for our streaming pleasure, lays out the unknowing power of a young woman’s belief structure, and the heavy years-long silence of disappointment and disillusionment. This real-time streaming production, live from the Factory Theatre, expands its unique new way of shaping a story, catapulting us upwards into the tangled, tattooed arms of religion and morality, while simultaneously pulling us down and inward into a young woman’s crushed soul by way of her spiritual notoriety. In what feels like, an ‘easy-breezy, lemon squeezy‘ manner, Yee forces us all to lean in and pay close attention to this captivating journey and its central character, dynamically portrayed by the intense Natasha Mumba (Canadian Stage’s Measure for Measure), that challenges, not only her convictions between right and wrong, but an imperfect child’s understand between sin and sainthood. 

Natasha Mumba in acts of faith, Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Life is hard for a prophet“, Yee and the lead character called ‘Faith’ tell us point blank, and while “the rest is theatre‘, the power of this narrative, with special thanks to the Sound Design and Broadcast Technician, Miquelon Rodriguez, finds a solid stance on stage, rarely giving us a reason, or desire to look away. The images are determinently strong, from the first backlit silhouette of the miracle child to the stunning outcome of an inflammatory incident and struggle, thanks to the Set and Costume Design of Joanna Yu and Lighting Designer Michelle Ramsay. The catechistic quest, “when faith goes“, finds its way, most brilliantly through ‘midnight‘, to the final profound confrontation and punishment, that drives the piece home through layers of complex understanding to a place of justice and peace.

Natasha Mumba in acts of faith, Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before“, but a Mother’s idioms, bookmarked wisely by her own jokes, as instructed, ignites a force that lives and breathes with a precise authenticy inside Yee’s acts of faith. The smart sharp delivery, that the “fear of God is an exceptional motivator“, adds layers and layers to what could have been just a disappointing “sheet cake at a birthday party” in the hands of a lessor playwright and actor. The acts of Faith (the character), as she begins to find a way through her ‘gift’, unearths and alters the erosion of her belief, in herself and the wide wild world that surrounds her. Far from home, she finds salvation and godliness, leaving us feeling blessed for the opportunity that the Factory Theatre has gifted us with. Excitedly, I look forward to the streamed and inventive Factory journeys that are ahead, thankful for the miracle road I just travelled on, thanks to David Yee and his acts of faith

Natasha Mumba in acts of faith, Photo by Dahlia Katz.

For information and free tickets to Factory Theatre‘s acts of faith, audiences will have to register in advance on Factory Theatre’s website (click here) to secure a spot for their preferred performance night. Admission is free of charge and once registered, Information on how to access the live streamed performance will be sent out to registered audience members via email 24 hrs before the performance. acts of faith will be performed for six nights – November 19, 20, 21 & 26, 27, 28 at 7:30PM. Each show is performed live and will be streamed to registered audience members watching from home via Factory Theatre’s website. (https://www.factorytheatre.ca/2020-21-season/registration-for-david-yees-acts-of-faith-is-now-open/)

Natasha Mumba in Factory Theatre’s acts of faith, Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Out of Town

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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