Reviews - Fringe 2009

Recess

By Tom Mackan
Published July 24, 2009

Written and performed by Una Aya Osato
Directed by Moises Belizario

We should have caught this performance earlier in the Festival, dear readers, the longer to relish and remember its richness and immense variety.

Una Aya Osato and her cast of dozens move in and around the Aquarius space in this well-directed production. Brisk and effective projections move us in an out of the buildings and places, but most effective is the ability of the actors to create a place for themselves when required by vocal variety, physical movement, gesture, and multiple creative devices - and a minimum of props.

Even the costumes are suggested by the actors in their scenes without changes required. We're in an elementary school in The Bronx, a borough of New York City, in America. It's what we call an "inner city school," where studious quiet is non-existent and disciplined movement and behaviour are but fragile and dearly to be wished for.

Much of the action is at recess, and the noise is deafening sometimes.

The protagonist is Sherita - what, seven? Eight? Mother, a single parent, is ill. Father not around, obviously. This small creature is required to battle forces that relatively speaking, would crush a tank. Life, for starters. Even death.

She has to make a life where every door, every adult, and most of her schoolmates are antagonistic. And somewhere in this small hero is the strength, indeed, a little seed of potential even she doesn't know is there.

Actor Una Aya Osato gives a performance of immeasurable diversity, bringing to Sherita terrible depths and a few highs. How will she survive?

Spoiler alert! Don't read on if you don't want to hear this. Of course, you know it already. But it's worth inserting here anyway.

Osato is the only performer on stage. She plays the full Monty, my friends, and then some. Crowds should be lining up to see this production. See it tonight at Aquarius at 6pm, on Saturday at 4:30 pm, or Sunday at 3 pm, Ok?

TNgM

Tom Mackan is Publisher and editor of NEWZY BITZ, an online Community Theatre newsletter in the GHA, with over 200 subscribers. He is a Member of the Board, Theatre Burlington; an actor and director in GHA Community Theatre for fifty years; winner of over 25 awards and citations in the Western Ontario region and beyond; recipient of 2007 City of Hamilton Arts Award (Theatre); a Graduate of Canadian Theatre School (Sterndale Bennett) Toronto, 1955; and a retired teacher of English and Drama in public and private schools in the GHA and abroad.

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