EVENTS

PERFORMANCE

Play--The Return

The Return

Written and directed by David Woods

Presented by Voices Black Theatre Ensemble

Time: 80 mins
Location: Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen St., Halifax

Admission: $14 (general) | $12 (students, seniors) Tickets: at Fringe Festival Box Office, Bus Stop Theatre or on line at tickethalifax.com

Parental guidance- Adult language, themes

Phone 902 430-3560 | e-mail voices@banns.ca | web www.banns.ca | www.atlanticfringe.ca

Performance Times:

From the theatre ensemble that brought us Once: Africville Stories (Best Drama, Best Script Awards, 2015 Fringe Festival) and Speaking In Tongues (Top 5 Hit Award, 2016 Fringe Festival) comes The Return- a contemporary drama exploring ambition, personality dissolution and the breakdown of a Black family in a fictional rural, Black community of Coleville, Nova Scotia.

Vicki Flemming, a beautiful, ‘married to wealth’ socialite suddenly returns to her family home in Coleville after a decade of absence. Initially her visit appears to be an attempt to heal the broken relationship with her sister Allee- a born-again Christian and traditionalist, who remained in the family homestead to raise a family and also to reconnect with the community she rejected as a young woman (Vicki considers herself White not Black). However Vicki’s return is really a flight from personal crises precipitated by her rich lover’s infidelity and her inability to have children. Her visit quickly becomes destructive resurrecting ‘long buried’ family secrets (including her childhood rape) and unleashing a series of incidents that shatter the façade of both her and her sister’s lives. The play ends with ‘a reversal of roles’ when the now psychologically unhinged Vicki ‘appropriates’ Allee’s life (including her husband, child and religion) as a way to reconnect to reality, while a broken Allee leaves the family home to seek the life of ‘a socialite’.

In this is heavily symbolic drama, playwright David Woods critiques the superficial pursuit of easy money adopted by two generations of the Flemming family (Vicki, Allee and their deceased mother Mary) as a way to escape their segregated, static community of Coleville. All three were individuals with damaged childhoods, ill-equipped to deal with modern society outside of Coleville. Each (for a period of time) adopted ‘hustling rich men’ as a way dealing with the outside world. But rather than making them rich, this choice ended up corrupting their sense of self worth, their vital relationships with each other, and the very house in which they live.

This is a play about ‘lost souls’ hiding in ideal projections of wealth, family, community and even religion, but evading the truth of their own lives.

Comments about The Return

“David Woods is a brilliant artist and chronicler of African Nova Scotian community experiences”
--Dr. Afua Cooper, Author, Former James Johnston Chair, Professor of Sociology, Dalhousie University

“Another important drama from Voices Black Theatre”
--Karen Hudson, Principal Auburn High School

CAST:

Sentia
Na’Vaijah Slawter (East Preston) is an 11 year old, Grade 6 student at Bell Park Elementary, Lake Echo. She is active in her church (Word In Action Ministries) and is a member of Scotia Cheer All Stars- a Dartmouth cheerleading squad. This is her first acting role

Vicki
Kyah Sparks (East Preston) is A 23 year-old graduate of the Radio, Television, Journalism program at NSCC. She has had stints working as reporter on East Link Community Channel, CBC Radio and CBC TV. This is Kyah’s acting debut.

Aubrey
Asante Spivey (Dartmouth) is from Brooklyn, New York and has lived in Dartmouth for the past 5 years. Over the past year he was part of the ensemble performers in stage productions of The Wiz (Rebecca Cohn, Halifax) and Honouring the Shoulders We Stand On (Las Vegas, Nevada). Asante will be studying theatre at Acadia University this Fall.

Allee
Vanessa Thomas (East Preston) has appeared in small speaking roles in local films and TV series over the past three years including in The Book of Negroes (2015) and Mr. D (2016-17). She will be attending Dalhousie University in the fall pursuing a degree in Pharmacy.

About the playwright

David Woods (Dartmouth) is a multi-disciplinary writer, artist, performer and organization leader. He has published books on art and poetry and his writings and artwork has appeared in literary anthologies across Canada and internationally. As a stage artist, Woods trained as a director and actor with Enounce an, Global Village Theatre Companies in Halifax. He has written over twenty stage plays including For Elsie Dorrington, The Dream Continues, The Aunt Jemima Story and Once: Africville Stories. Several of his plays were presented across Canada and were also broadcast nationally on CBC Radio. He has won a number of important literary awards for poetry and drama including the National Black Poetry Competition Prize (1998) and the George Elliott Clarke Literary Award (1997, 1998). In 2016, Woods was awarded the prestigious Harry Jerome Award for Entertainment for his contributions to arts and performance across Canada.

About Voices

Voices Black Theatre Ensemble was founded in 1990 by David Woods. It was organized in the wake of the 1989 Cole Harbour High School race riot when students in the school’s CAYG group approached Woods about creating a play to tell story of their experiences in the school. The resulting performance Nova Scotia Black Reality Song was a huge success and brought such accolades to the student performers they decided they would like to stay together and create other performances with Woods…and thus Voices Black Theatre Ensemble was born. Over the next two and a half decades Voices remained committed to creating original drama and performance on the African Nova Scotian experience. Successful productions included Black Journey (1992), Nova Scotia Suite (1995) and Speaking in Tongues (2016). The Ensemble has performed across Canada including at the National Library, Hull, Que; Parliament Hill, Ottawa; and Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. The Ensemble was instrumental in the development of several local performers who later pursued professional acting and performance careers including Jeremiah Sparks (Cherry Brook), Jivaro Smith (North Preston) and most recently Nathan Simmons (East Preston).

For bookings or interest in joining the ensemble contact:

Artistic Director, Voices Black Theatre Ensemble
P.O. Box 23106 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia  B3A 4S9
Phone 902 430-3560 | e-mail voices@banns.ca | web www.banns.ca

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