Anatolia Speaks – and very well, indeed
- Written by John Palmer
Poiema Productions, Edmonton, Alberta
Written by Kenneth Brown
Performed by Candice Fiorentino
Audience: General Entertainment, Dramady
Their Description: The ever-cheerful Anatolia addresses her ESL class. She loves being a new Canadian working at Superstore. But questions about her past in Bosnia elicit a darker story of struggle, passion, and survival. [This is…] a play that celebrates the power of the human spirit.
Run Time: 55 minutes
Remaining Performances: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 9:00pm, Friday, June 14, 2013 - 5:30pm, Saturday, June 15, 2013 - 8:00pm
Wow! Just Wow! An excellent script, well-staged, and an absolutely brilliant performance. See this show!
Anatolia left Bosnia, was in several refugee camps, and arrived in Canada in 1997. She has been living in Edmonton, Alberta, for two years. She has a job she likes at Superstore and has a very positive, upbeat perspective on life; and she is hoping to save enough money to move to a bigger apartment in a few years and maybe buy a refrigerator soon. She must give a presentation to her ESL [English as a Second Language] class about her life in Canada and her adjustment. As the presentation proceeds, though, students in her class ask questions about her life in Bosnia and the family she left behind.
Kenneth Brown’s script is a masterpiece of political balance, not particularly taking sides in the intense, murderous Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian war. It is mixed with deep emotion, with a slight bit of mild comedy gently tucked in. But put that script in the hands of Candice Fiorentino, and it moves beyond masterpiece.
Fiorentino’s performance was simply terrific. She has a sense of timing that makes the classroom situation seem real and at the same time conveys a depth of feeling one cannot help but share. She captured the upbeat, forward-looking outlook of Anatolia and still made us feel the grief Anatolia felt as she related her story.
The descriptions of Edmonton and a Superstore there are both real and amusing. The joke about the Jews and the Nazi was exactly right for this play. And the powerpoint slides were the perfect extra touch.
This show received a standing ovation, and I was among the first on my feet. It is receiving rave reviews everywhere, so be sure to arrive early to purchase your tickets if you want to see it. It was ¾ sold out Monday night, and I expect there will be sell-out shows later this week.
John Palmer is a senior citizen who was active in 60s causes. He is a former sportscaster, orchestra conductor, photographer, actor, and economist. He now is mostly retired but remains active in music, economics, and acting. He blogs at www.eclectecon.net.