Agokwe: Romeo and Juliet in Fair Canora
La Chapelle is just killing it these days. I have not seen a single show that I have not liked there this season. Agokwe, created and performed by Waawaate Fobister is simply yet another shot across the park. This multi-Dora award winning show is fantastic and there are VERY few performances, so get to this immediately.
The story, as inspired by events in Mr. Fobister’s life, centers around two young Anishnaabe men coming to terms with their sexuality and uncommon attraction while living on different reservations. Their attraction comes to a boiling point over a high-stakes weekend hockey tournament, where the First Nations people take over Canora.
The play touches on so many cultural realities that it is dizzying. We deal with community relationships, small town culture, bullying, suicide, homophobia, alcoholism, spirituality, coming out… and its all done in a gentle, funny, real way. The humor infused into this coming of age story is not to be denied, and as heavy as the subject matter is, it’s heavy in the way that Romeo and Juliet is heavy. This is basically a story of two young men in love, in love in that messy way that teenagers love, with the innocence and the uncertainty of youth, and told in an unapologetically Anishnaabe voice.
The performance is commanding, and the characters are distinct and fleshed out. The special effects and projections are used sparingly and to great effect. The design is minimalistic and its a good choice, because the star of the show is really the performer and Mr. Fobister carries it with ease.
I laughed, I recognized myself in many of the characters, and I most definitely cried. This show, I would recommend for anyone and everyone. It’s fantastic, accessible, well-written and performed expertly. It makes you feel like you are a part of something, of a larger whole, which is what theatre is supposed to do. See it see it see it see it. Its a lovely experience.
Agokwe is now playing at Theatre La Chapelle (3700 St-Dominique) from April 12-15, 2016, tickets priced between 25.50-37.50$ and available here