The Art of Traditional Head-Tying debuts at Toronto's East End Performance Crawl
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 last week at the Toronto East End Performance Crawl but I was lucky enough to see an excerpt of it a couple of weeks ago 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. We all love those moments and Ambrose serves them up 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.
The Art of Traditional Head-tying can be seen at the East End Performance Crawl until next Thursday. (Tickets Here) You can also catch Ambrose at this summer's Toronto Fringe Festival (July 2-13). 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.
See below for how you can continue to support her work.