Theatre Passe Muraille is currently offering an incredible double bill of Okay, you can stop now and X and Da Spirit in their Mainspace. They’ve teamed up with b current performing arts, along with Shakeil Rollock director and creator of Okay, you can stop now, to bring these two powerful and poignant works to the stage. Inspiring calls to action for a better world, Okay, you can stop now and X and Da Spirit are a perfect pair, and make for an amazing night of theatre.

            Okay, you can stop now features an amazing design predominantly comprised of newspapers. These line the walls, cover the floors, and act as tangible reminders of our history. Hearing the performers swoosh through the paper with every step makes for an impressive sensory experience. There are CRT Televisions, a total blast from the past, placed in various places on the stage; coming to life during the performance with images of the performers. The use of projection in this production was a powerful way to begin the show; with various news reels piling one on top of the other, some of them even featuring the same script being read by different newscasters, it gave the same crushing, overwhelming feeling as the characters experience with the newspaper.

            The performers of Okay, you can stop now, Tama Martin, Alten Wilmot, Cheryl Chan, and Cody Berry-Ottertail never stopped throughout the performance. It was like they were in constant motion, a never-ending battle against the onslaught of information being hurled at them on any given day. The way that they are able to get their message across using their bodies amidst the chaos of the newspaper is enthralling; you simply can’t take your eyes off of them for a moment. Their hard work and stamina throughout the piece pays off, as I was in awe of them from start to finish.

            An element of Okay, you can stop now that I really enjoyed was how each performer got a chance at the mic during the performance, and it’s how they use it that creates the message. The first performer who finds it can’t get out a coherent sentence; they feel that they need to read more or just regurgitate what’s been in the paper. The next one gets so overwhelmed by the barrage of questions that they’re not even able to answer anything other than “I don’t know.” It’s the last two who actually get to say something, and boy do they ever say something! These calls to action to the audience are evocative and strong, and certainly had my partner and I talking for quite some time on our drive home.

            All of this paired amazingly well with Fringe Patron’s Pick X and Da Spirit. For those of you who missing seeing it this summer, this is your perfect opportunity to get out and see it! You definitely don’t want to miss it. The set is breathtaking; a graffitied wall with the names of murdered black people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, accompanied by the rally cries for peace and justice, X and Da Spirit wastes no time in telling you what this production is going to be about.

            Directed and starring creator Donovan Hayden alongside Trinity Lloyd, X and Da Spirit is a heartening story of persevering despite the obstacles society presents. I loved the call and response sections where the whole audience was made to feel like we were joining in a protest, as well as the information about what to bring (and not bring) if you’re going to a protest. It’s a practical but also motivational story that made me feel like anyone could change the world, and paired with the messages from Okay, you can stop now, we know that it starts with us.

            Okay, you can stop now and X and Da Spirit have a very limited run, closing on February 11th so I must urge you to get your tickets ASAP. This is the kind of theatre I wish I could show to everyone in my life, and I’m so thankful to see that Theatre Passe Muraille had some schools in to see the show as well. For more information and tickets visit: Okay, you can stop now – Theatre Passe Muraille

photo by Samuel Engelking


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