Exploring the Dynamics of Identity Through Drama: Aaron Haddad, A Promising New Voice

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Fried Plantain and Thing: A Comedy in Two Acts By Aaron Haddad

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Fried Plantain and Thing is a play written in Canadian English and Jamaican patois. It draws inspiration from the traditions of 20th century Jamaican pantomimes as well as Trinidadian Calypsos and unfolds from behind the closed doors of a seemingly quiet Canadian suburban kitchen. Though fun and naughty on the surface, it always offers to the spectator incisive as well as nuanced commentaries about mixed identity and cultural resilience.

Fried plantain, common staple of the Jamaican kitchen, is the food we immediately encounter with a banter between Nana Gentle, the de facto Jamaican matriarch of the home  and her Canadian granddaughter, Marie Lapointe, an intelligent university student still coming into her own. Fried plantain also happens to be the preferred delight of the play’s primary character, Anansi, the spider-man whom the audience quickly discovers is hidden from view of the two women as he observes them from beneath the kitchen table. From here on, the audience and Anansi are co-conspirators in maintaining a state of dramatic irony that sees the trickster not only observe the life portrayed on stage, but intentionally participate in it as an obvious and not so obvious presence in the lives of these women and those close to them.

Anansi also plays Mr. Anthony Simmons, a charming elderly Jamaican electrician, and Andrew Sealy, a young Canadian university student. This allows him to not only get closer to grandmother Nana and granddaughter Marie, but to also establish amicable relationships with Candice Gentle (daughter of Nana, mother of Marie) a matter-of-fact Jamaican-Canadian school principal, and Eric Lapointe (husband of Candice, father of Marie), an easy going non-Jamaican service technician. Anansi’s web is also made to include Alex, Marie’s insensitive boyfriend, who serves as a convenient character foil and additional means to achieving his overall goals.

More to come about this fascinating project in future posts.

Please note in the poster above that the author is seeking participants to bring the script to life.

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