July 22, 2015
I had no idea my friend Nicole had all this inside her head. I knew she was smart. And I knew she could sing. But write an opera? Stand up to naysayers? Refuse to be cut down by hesitant big time financial supporters? Nicole took them all on and won.
This not a sturm and drang European opera. Obeah is breakthrough — an opera with every kind of Black music weaving in and out, in and out.
You see, Nicole kept having these dreams that fed the music. And she knows what life is like when it comes to struggle. But she’s not a complainer. Instead, Nicole wrote the story and the music. And she performs and sings the lead. Well, it is her opera.
“Obeah Opera is a hand clapping foot stomping spirit lifting, magical musical sensation. Steeped in Black music, sung entirely a cappella by a powerful all-female cast, Obeah Opera is a retelling of the legendary Salem witch trials from the fascinating perspective of Caribbean slave women.” (Obeah Opera Info Package)
Nicole plays Tituba the slave who confronted persecution in Barbados and again in Salem, Massachusetts. Tituba is mentioned in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
The word Obeah comes from African slaves brought to the Caribbean, sold in America and always threatened with death. Their African knowledge of healing was interpreted as witchcraft by white communities giving us the Salem Witch Trials.
Obeah Opera is Nicole’s triumph. It’s definitely a Nicole Brooks vision.
Go see Obeah Opera as it explodes into the world. Just go. Because I said so. And because Margaret Atwood and David Mirvish agree.
“I’m very impressed with Nicole Brooks’ vision, dedication and talent. OBEAH OPERA sounds fascinating and vital. It is a show I fully support. I look forward to seeing its world premiere production at Panamania.” David Mirvish
And the dirt and gossip? My lips are sealed because I’m trying to be an Obeah elder. BUT we still need donations. If you find it in your heart, please make a donation for my friend Nicole’s inclusive piece of theatre art – Obeah Opera.
We have 2 ways to donate:
Write cheque payable to Nightwood Theatre, with Obeah Opera in the memo line
Phone Beth at Nightwood Theatre (416) 944-1740 ex. 3 to make arrangements for delivery or pick-up
Donors need to select Obeah Opera from the dropdown menu.
ONLINE COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER – NO TAX CREDIT
Creator, Composer & Librettist: Nicole Brooks
Director & Staging: Lezlie Wade
Music Director: Andrew Craig
Choreographer: Anthony “Prime” Guerra
Sound Designer: Graham Clarke
Set and Costume Designer: Robin Fisher
Lighting Designer: Bonnie Beecher
Stage Manager: Kathleen Harrison
Assistant Stage Manager: Ashley Westlake
Associate Producer (Creative): Marinda de Beer
Associate Producer (Technical): Paul Shaw
Producer: Derrick Chua
Nicole Brooks (Tituba)
Divine Brown (Mary Black)
Karen Burthwright (Candy)
Diana Coatsworth (Captain/Doctor)
Saphire Demitro (Auctioneer/Shapeshifter)
Deidrey Francois (Sarah)
Nickeshia Garrick (Shapeshifter)
Sarah Gibbons (Abigail Williams)
Janet MacEwen (Rev Samuel Parris)
Debbie Nicholls-Skerritt (Shapeshifter)
Melissa Noventa (Mercy/Shapeshifter)
Dana Jean Phoenix (Betty Parris)
Sabryn Rock (Elizabeth Eldridge)
Singing Sandra (The Elder)
Young Centre for the Performing Arts
50 Tank House Lane (Historic Distillery District) Toronto, Ontario M5A 3C4
Obeah Opera sprang from Culchahworks Arts Collective. The production is just one of the ways we celebrate stories drawn from the African-Canadian, Caribbean-Canadian and African American cultural legacies. Everything from Culchahworks has a universal resonance through the arts.
And for even more information https://www.facebook.com/ObeahOpera
Obeah Opera by Nicole Brooks or Covers most of what I’ve already given you, but has a snippet* of video.
* that’s a technical term I just invented
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