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 dress; carried 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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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/)