Kanika Ambrose Brings Her Revered Solo Show to the Toronto Fringe
Sometimes I watch a writer tell a story and I forget that they spent years writing it. Charm can do that. Intelligence can also do that. Eccentricities also, they can do that too. Kanika Ambrose definitely does that with all three of those qualities.
The Art of Traditional Head-tying debuted this past June at the Toronto East End Performance Crawl but I was lucky enough to see an excerpt of in May at a Theatre Passe Murraille after hours event. As I watched, oddities, all kinds of oddities, hit me. And I liked it. It was one of those "Wow I really like this" moments. Those precious, savoury theatre-magic sparkles of "real nice" are rare but Ambrose gives us splash after splash throughout her piece.
Ambrose plays several characters as she tells the story of Rosemarie, a young woman who, after twenty years of living in Canada, goes back to her home Island, Dominica (Dominica, W.I., Ambrose's cultural heritage) to take a workshop on traditional head-tying, a dying art form. While there she meets a voluptuous cast of characters, each uniquely voiced. The magic of the piece comes from Ambrose's spontaneity. Her imagination is vivid, tangential, hurried and strange: All great things in story telling and all coveted principles of any solo show.
The impulsive nature of the script reflects Ambrose's writing process. She writes on her feet, a trick true performers love to exercise (see favoured Newborn writers Haley Mcgee and Daniel MacIvor). As stated by Ambrose, she wrote "in as many characters as I wanted and I put them in all kinds of situations. They yell at each other, chase each other up hills, have arguments and even make-out with each other. It wasn’t until I started reading the play as an actor that I realized all the problems that I had created for myself!". One of the greatest writing stories ever told will eventually be the one you hear about Ambrose writing a love scene for her to play between two different characters in her own solo show. It's moments like that which allow a humble writer/actor to rely on her director. Ambrose's generosity in process and performance are absolute treasures which will continue to support her growing body of work.
Don't miss her! If you love story telling, you will laugh and continue laughing post-show. See it several times! Like a true creator, her work is always developing. She's a new friend to Newborn and a perfect addition to the Canadian theatre scene.
"I’m always curious to see how the work will land with different audiences. After that, who knows what will happen, but I do see more life in this work. I’m not quite finished exploring it and growing it yet."
...And we will keep following her.
CHECK IT OUT!
The Art of Traditional Head-tying opens at the Toronto Fringe Tonight (June 2) at 8:45 at St. Vlad's Theatre.
ADDITIONAL SHOW TIMES
July 02 at 08:45 PM
July 05 at 02:15 PM
July 07 at 03:00 PM
July 09 at 07:45 PM
July 11 at 02:15 PM
July 12 at 12:00 PM
July 13 at 09:00 PM
See below for how you can continue to support her work.