Last night Karlyn Percil and I went to check out Other Side Of The Game. It’s a play written by Amanda Parris and directed by Nigel Williams, presented by Cahoots Theatre and Obsidian Theatre. It’s on now at the Aki Studio theatre, Daniels Spectrum in Toronto. Amanda Parris is a fellow Scorpio and woman I’ve always admired. I don’t remember if she actually went to Ryerson University like I did, but I’d often see her at various black students’ union events. I remember wondering how she always managed to look so intellectually cool. ..and together. I never felt bright enough to hold a conversation with her. It wasn’t until many years later that I actually had a chance to. And not only was she as brilliant as I had expected, but she was also very sweet and funny.
Over the years we’ve stayed connected and I’ve watched her remain consistent and ever faithful to supporting Toronto’s arts & culture scene. She now hosts CBC TV’s The Exhibitionists and CBC Radio 2’s Marvin’s Room. I’m proud to support Amanda in her professional playwriting debut, Other Side Of The Game.
The play straddles two time periods; two decades apart and pulls focus on often silenced women. Imagine Boyz ‘n the hood told from the perspective of Nia Long’s character or Selma or Malcolm X told from Correta’s or Betty’s perspective. That’s kind of what Other Side Of The Game Is About. But it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen, you really have to see it to understand.
The performances were so raw and relatable. We, the audience tried , unsuccessfully, to hold back snaps and “uhm-hmmms.” The five member cast ebbed and flowed so well together. And trust me you won’t be able to take your eyes off Virgilia Griffith who plays Nicole and Akilah. Even though I didn’t grow up in Scarborough or hold any major roles in social justice organizations, each character, or some aspect of them, was familiar to me. That’s probably the same reason why the actors didn’t change clothes, as they swapped characters and jumped time. It showed the similarity of experience. Nicole and Akilah are the same. Shevon and Beverley are the same. Things haven’t changed.
It’s the kind of play that spawns further discussion and makes you think about it hours after you’ve seen it. Karlyn and I felt embarrassed that we didn’t know many of the names uttered in reference to Toronto’s history of activism. (Fingers crossed Amanda will write another play to delve deeper here) We also couldn’t stop talking about various themes in the play, like the ride or die philosophy or the “I’ve got this” Black woman. As a wife and new entrepreneur I thought about how the latter shows up in my life. So much to unpack!
Well done Amanda. Thank you for putting these women at the forefront. Keep on making us proud. Go check out Other Side Of The Game for yourself. It’s on until November 5th at the Aki Studio theatre. Buy tickets HERE.
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