New Harlem Productions presents
CAKE By Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and director Clare Preuss
â€œCake brings the complexities of global power structures into a captivating visceral experience, engaging audiences on intellectual, poetic, and human levels.â€? ~Nisha Ahuja, Jungalee Gal Productions
PRODUCTION CREDITS Playwright: Donna-Michelle St. Bernard Director: Clare Preuss Associate Director: Aura Carcueva Actors: Neema Bickersteth (Femi) Ash Knight (Aarif) Jamie Robinson (Oba) Nana Boateng Frimpong (Mabo) Arthur Kisenye (Mabo) Set and Costume Designer: Isidra Cruz Lighting Designer: Michelle Ramsay Sound Designer: Kevin Centeno Stage Manager: Sarah Oâ€™Brien Production Manager: Sandra Lefrancois Workshop photos by Isidra Cruz
“Painful and sensitive, cruel and beautiful, insidious and stark … the action is between the lines and the silence is deafening” ~Nina Lee Aquino, Cahoots Theatre Company
â€œA man earns. However little, however nefariously, he earns.â€? (Oba) ~ ~ ~ Oba holds together the last shreds of his dignity with trembling hands under the watchful eyes of his progeny. Torn between pride and need, he ultimately chooses the burden of survival. ~
Cake humanizes the dynamic between Niger and Iran around the clandestine trade in uranium. A scathing allegory that examines Niger's complicit dealings in uranium, international aide and Iranian interests, Cake presents a critical assessment of oppression imposed by conditional assistance. ~ ~ ~ A stylized storytelling scored with lyric physicality and stark design. This play addresses both local and global scenarios, in which aid is offered to persons and nations in exchange for the perpetuation of systemic poverty.
“Especially in these hard times, we must stay open minded about opportunity. For instance, have you considered learning to speak Chinese?” :OBA
“Your father wrote, “I will fill this dried well with tears to wash your children’s homecoming feet; I will weep the moon’s mercy as this new river flows out over your delta; I will sink to the wrist in your earth and rise refreshed from resting in your hills.” :FEMI
LOGISTICS Cast size: 4 Crew size: 2 Duration: 75 minutes Set: The set design is flexible, portable, unique, strong and adaptable to presenter spaces. Lighting and sound are self contained onstage and do not require the use of the grid or board. Three extension cords with power bars provide sufficient power to run the show. It is our preference to play in studio theatres with a capacity no larger than 200 in order to preserve the intimate feeling established by the style. Outreach: The company actively reaches out into various communities through promotions and arts workshops to create networks, alliances, receptive audiences for our own work and intercultural/ interdisciplinary work in general.
"Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is more than a compelling story-teller; she's an unapologetic truth-teller. Audiences should not expect to be entertained by Donna-Michelle's work; they should expect to be thrilled, horrified, shaken and stirred by it." ~Sonja Mills
Cake was workshopped in 2011 and presented in various stages of development at: University of Toronto’s Festival of Original Theatre:
Performing Postcolonialities Toronto, Ontario Springworks Festival—Stratford, Ontario Mayworks Festival—Toronto, Ontario Bayimba Festival—Kampala, Uganda Development has been generously supported by Ontario Arts Council's Theatre Creator’s Reserve Program. Recommenders: Cahoots Theatre, MT Space Theatre, Obsidian Theatre Company and Summerworks Theatre Festival. Toronto Arts Council’s Theatre Program
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is an emcee, playwright, director and arts administrator working for change through the arts. Notable works for the stage include Salomeâ€™s Clothes, Give It Up and Cake. Her play Gas Girls was a Governor Generalâ€™s Literary Award finalist (2011), won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding new play, an Enbridge PlayRites Award at Calgary Theatre Projects, and earned second place in the Herman Voaden Playwriting Competition. She has been playwright-in-residence at Obsidian Theatre, lead vocalist for Belladonna & the Awakening, and general manager of Native Earth Performing Arts. DM is now a vocalist with ergo sum and artistic director of New Harlem Productions in Toronto.
ABOUT NEW HARLEM PRODUCTIONS New Harlem Productions is an artist centred company based in Toronto whose directive is •
to represent marginalized voices • to contribute to vital dialogues through artistic expression • to create a platform for necessary stories to be told Artistic Director Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Advisory Committee Brenda St. Bernard, David Yee, Joan Kivanda, Isaac Thomas, Kern Albert, Philip Adams, Raine Liliefeldt, Sandra LeFrancois, Tara Beagan
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The work of New Harlem Productions is supported through project funding from