Harlem Duet at the Segal Centre

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Harlem Duet, by Canadian Djanet Sears, is a witty, compelling and provocative play that explores the complex and often uncomfortable issues of race, identity, jealousy, and the expression thereof in terms of dichotomies – or, if you will, duets. And it’s the kind of uncomfortable that makes you smarter.
A “non-chronological prequel” to Shakespeare’s Othello, Harlem Duet tells the modern-day story of Billie, whose dreams of life with her partner in Harlem’s “sea of black faces” are shattered when Othello abandons her for the younger and whiter Mona. Racial issues are as contentious as personal injuries as the ex-couple divide their possessions and argue opposing ways of expressing their identities. The couples’ earlier days are expressed in flashbacks through a historical lens, as idealistic slaves in the 1860s planning to run away to a life together, and as a jaded couple struggling with broken dreams in the Vaudeville era. Though supported by her sassy landlady Magi and wise sister-in-law Amah, and finally her estranged father, Billie becomes unbalanced and consumed by the desire for revenge.
Local talent Lucinda Davis delivers a spectacular knockout performance in the demanding role of Billie, and supporting actresses Neema Bickersteth and Liana Montoro provide warmth and levity. At the Segal Centre until November 11, Harlem Duet is not to be missed.

About Author

A lover of words, literature, music, and culture, Clark makes her home in Montréal where she enjoys going to libraries and museums, playing flute, guitar, and ukulele, and sewing and DIY projects. She is currently a freelance writer and translator. / Passionnée de la culture et surtout des mots, de la littérature et de la musique, Rebecca Anne Clark habite à Montréal où elle aime aller aux bibliothèques et aux musées, jouer la flûte traversière, la guitare, et l'ukulélé, et aussi la couture et le bricolage. Elle est actuellement écrivaine et traductrice pigiste.

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