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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: Chocolate Woman Dreams The Milky Way

Chocolate Woman Dreams The Milky Way:
By: Christine McFarlane
I must admit that I am not one to really attend theatre performances; I can count on one hand the performances I have taken in within my lifetime, and that’s not to say I don’t support the arts, because I really do. The arts is an amazing field that deserves a lot more support than it currently gets, hint, hint…. Conservative government!
Recently I went to go and see Monique Mojica in her show “Chocolate Woman Dreams The Milky Way.” It was playing at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79A St. George Street, at the downtown University of Toronto’s St. George campus.
I recall feeling a bit uneasy at first because besides my friend Tyler Pennock who happened to be the Performer’s Assistant at this show, and the ticket person at the door, Tannis Neilson, a renowned artist herself, I was alone at the performance and had no one to really bounce feelings off of as I sat mesmerized by the story being played out in front of me, and the raw emotions that it evoked within me.
“Chocolate Woman Dreams The Milky Way” follows a Kuna woman who has lost her way and can only find out who she is by connecting with her history and her culture. Though there is a journey and no actual plot, you can’t help but be mesmerized by Mojica’s playful movement, the energy she evokes as you see her dance gracefully from one mola to another (a mola in the Kuna culture is a traditional blouse worn by the Indian women. It is made from two intricately appliquéd panels and is considered an art form) moving from one character to the next, and the snippets of song that she breaks into especially when at one point she is on the floor, holding a blanket that represents her holding a baby and she sings a lullaby to it. It sent shivers up my spine and almost had me crying in my seat at the same time because the emotions were so strong.
Mojica-along with Gloria Miguel telling stories in counterpoint-creates layers of meaning within her play, meaning that really touches you and has you leaving the play with lingering thoughts and emotion you yearn to understand.
 Miguel, founding member of New York’s Spiderwoman Theatre, has the qualities required of the wise, maternal guardian of the stories being told, and between the two, they make “Chocolate Woman Dreams The Milky Way”  a show you must see!
I still have a lasting impression inside my head- the images of Mojica’s movements across the stage, and Miguel’s booming voice as the story and the journey of this Kuna woman unfolds before your eyes. 

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