Thursday, September 21, 2023

Frost Bites Review: Stories, Bodies, Archives: A Poly-vocal Script

Who: Saba Company
What: Stories, Bodies, Archives: A Poly-vocal Script
Length: 45 minutes
Theatre Aquarius Art Centre (191 King William Street)
When: Remaining show February 19 at 9:00pm
Tickets: $15.50
To Buy Tickets:

Going somewhere new is always an intimidating prospect, doubly so if you expect to be there for a long time. Worse still is if everyone there speaks a language other than your own, or if the culture there is entirely different from the one you were raised in. This is true even when the destination is right here in Hamilton: migrant workers and students arrive from a wide variety of places, only to find themselves facing all of these struggles and more.

In Stories, Bodies, Archives, a multitude of voices come together as a collective, joined together to share firsthand experiences of studying abroad in Canada. The show lists 12 different playwrights, but the stories they write are delivered by just four performers. With coloured hats to mark them, the audience meets the storytellers as Green, Red, Yellow and Purple.

The performance is heavily reliant on the voices of its performers; all four actors remain seated throughout, and the coloured hats are the only real visual elements. With that being said, it also knows how to make the most of those voices, and the performers themselves demonstrate that they know how to use them. Often they’ll take turns delivering monologues, or share a conversation from one colour to another. At other times they’ll intermingle or speak in unison, setting the stage for order or chaos as the situation demands.

The show can be intense in its delivery and subject matter, or even overwhelming at times. It doesn’t mince words, and it’s not afraid to confront difficult questions or share painful personal experiences. No matter what they’re saying, though, it always comes through with emotion and conviction. The performers have put a lot of work into doing these stories justice, and it shows.

No matter who you are, where you’re from, or where you might be going, everyone goes through hard times in their life. Struggling through it all to reach the next sunrise is a natural human experience, and it’s one that can unify people from all across the globe. Stories, Bodies, Archives shows us that while the four colours might seem different, in many ways they’re all the same, just as people from two completely different places can have any number of things in common. If we can learn to recognize those similarities, it can help to bring us all closer together.

Arthur Bullock
Arthur Bullock
Arthur Bullock is a graduate of McMaster University, Mohawk College and Algonquin College. He's spent nearly all his life in Hamilton, and has been reviewing plays at the Fringe since 2015. He has a passion for writing of all kinds, and loves to combine that with a longtime interest in local theatre.

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