A visually breathtaking musical voyage celebrating the strength and resilience of Black women throughout the 20th Century.
Century Song, presented in Association with Volcano Theatre, Moveable Beast, and Richard Jordan Productions UK, played at Montreal’s Century Theatre for four nights to commemorate Black History Month all over the world, notably in North America.
Co-created and starring internationally acclaimed soprano Neema Bickersteth, the masterpiece was choreographed by Kate Alton, and directed by Ross Manson.
The performance started with the protagonist sitting with us in the audience, in fact, we walked right by her upon entering into the auditorium. While waiting, and wondering where and how she would come onto the stage, to our amazement, she walked out from amongst us.
The first scene is captivating, with Neema disrobing, from what we can only assume was her “slave clothes”. Escaping from her role as a house servant, her run to freedom seems fraught with a brief moment of relief, but followed by hardship.
As we follow Neema, representative of the Black Woman throughout the century, there is a symbolic theme of aloneness. An aloneness that follows her through to the current decade. Can this symbolic theme represent Black Women’s fight to be recognized as “human”, as “a woman” throughout the century?”
Towards the end of the multi-digital performance, we notice a shift from aloneness as a theme, to unity.
While this digital portrayal on the large screen is all Neema, we can only deduce that she is now assembling fragments of “herself” that was stripped apart for centuries.
Photos by: John Lauener
Photo credit: https://centaurtheatre.com/shows/century-song/