drum & posterLive theatre!!! Nothing like it especially when you don’t know what you are in for.
SummerWorks is a highlight for any Torontonian Independent Theatre lover.
I have been attending since the 90’s, volunteering & doing tech work both.
This year I went with the BUZZ & I was blessed to catch Suzanne Roberts Smith’s

“From the streets to the stage then back again”

Walking into the theatre as I passed the stage there was a group of women
sitting cross legged sombrely despite festive costumes, in front of spotlighted percussion instruments. The row of heads were slightly bowed & as climbed
up the riser quietly  I noticed the hushing of the other patrons voices…
the mood was set.

Lights down & the audience heard a plaintive voice ring out &
we were all transported back in time. A time when African Slaves were
brought to Brazil, & some say older than the Samba, the MARACATU
tradition is from the city of Recife.

seated womenOne by one the group was invited to share her story, we heard from
a Goddess, rejoiced while the Priestess blessed, laughed when the lone
fellow became King in ancient world the Queen really was the big B.
Most moving for me (yes I actually cried) the members of the group’s
individual accounts… from bullying, gay marriage, the lost girl becoming a
found woman… of how they all came to be involved with the drumming,
singing, dancing unity that is MARACATU.

“When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream.
When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.”
Hèlder Cāmara

drumsThe entire room was swaying, banging, thumping, clapping, tapping,
snapping, singing, First time SummerWorks attendee Steph Axford,
owner of CopyCat Reproductions, is a fan of Suzanne ‘s & after the
performance she expressed to me that the experience for her was
” an emotional journey of struggle, rebirth, & acceptance.” The “passion
of the Brazilian rhythm & dance” drew a tear from Steph too.

I asked Suzanne to explain why she wrote this piece
“It has been something that I’ve been trying to find a way to manifest
into the theatre and onto stage for a long time.
I wrote it because it was begging to be written and so it ‘wrote
itself’ after the idea has been nagging at me for years.”

As an actor, participating in this awesome expressive percussion
ensemble and learning about the origins of this music which are
innately epic and theatrical, it just felt like a natural progression
of joining forces and merging worlds.
But the ‘HOW’ I wrote this piece to me is even more exciting.
I wrote it around this particular ensemble and the personal stories.

Beautifully I am adding because we are sitting in the dark learning
together how to create celebratory noise when the exit doors are thrown
open and we follow the players out to the gorgeous sunset while they play
& sing & dance for us…& now with us.

Somehow their cry of MARACATU YOU! is in each of us
Thank You so much for that spirit!

There are workshops that you can find out more & how to take part
in the MARACATU phenomenon at www.baquedebamba.com

About the Author

Cat Grant OCAD is a multimedia artist. A published poet currently writing a book,she contributes to Hone Life, Jingobox and her blog for theBUZZ Kitty Indacity. Painting, sculpture, photography/video, choreography/dance & costume design also make her days. Cat has worked with Deadmau5, Panasonic, Sony, Konami and volunteers for many queer organizations.