by Paula Citron
The mandate of Jumblies Theatre under artistic director Ruth Howard is to go out to various Toronto communities – in this case Etobicoke’s Dundas-Mabelle-Islington – and then build a community theatre production from scratch.
“Bridge of One’s Hair” is, in reality, a staged cantata. Composer Alice Ping Yee Ho has written very attractive music for soloists, choir and a small musical ensemble that drives the action using the poetry of Hawa Jibril.
Jibril, a 90-year-old Somali poet who lives in Etobicoke, was a fighter for Somali independence and a feminist who resisted the subservient role of women.
The good news is the production is given imaginative staging. The bad news is Howard’s weak script. Jibril’s story has been obfuscated by a Grimm fairy tale and references to the Mississauga Indians and the extinct passenger pigeon.
The production’s impressionistic approach lacks clarity. Jibril’s story could and should have stood alone.
Bridge of One’s Hair continues until Sunday.
From the Brigantine Room, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.