Thirteen years seems like a good point to shake things up. And that’s exactly what performance company b current is doing with this year’s rock.paper.sistahz festival. The annual weeklong event has become a launching pad for some of the country’s hottest culturally diverse artists. This year’s festival was so packed with talent, it had to be compressed somewhat to fit. This brings us to 23 hours live, a performance marathon featuring 14 new plays performed over a single day.
The lineup includes Black Mothers Don’t Say I Love You, written by trey anthony, whose earlier work includes Da Kink in My Hair. Xtra chatted with the acclaimed artist about the piece.
What’s the project about?
Black Mothers focuses on a 30-something lesbian who comes home after being estranged from her very religious Christian mother. It also looks at the story of immigration and how she’s still dealing with her mother’s decision to leave Jamaica and her children behind to come to Canada for a better life. It’s really the story of myself, my grandmother and my mother. Honestly, it’s my most vulnerable and complex work ever and is very autobiographical. That’s why it’s actually taken me over six years to write.
Why did you want to share this story with an audience?
As a black West Indian queer Canadian, my story looks vastly different than my white peers’, and I wanted to speak about this. In the last workshop of the piece, people expressed that it was a healing work and brought along their own parents who thought their children were the only black gay children in the world.
What’s been the most challenging thing about the process?
The title of the play has been an ongoing battle. People either love it or hate it. But it does garner a level of curiosity and engagement. I recognize the title provokes many emotions, and I have a responsibility to look at what truth I’m putting into the mainstream and whether it’s doing more harm than good for the community.