Mixtape

World Premiere at Toronto's Crow's Theatre

Aleksander Antonijevic

Joe Szekeres

For me, opening nights always remain eventful and emotional moments for the artist and the audience. The artist lovingly gives birth to his/her/their creation in front of an anticipatory audience who excitedly wonders at how this process will unfold. An enthusiastic buzz of excitement for ‘Mixtape’ in the Crow’s Theatre Guloien auditorium reverberated just before this world premiere birth.

We were all keenly ready for an evening of theatre.

At one point during this terrific solo script of ‘Mixtape’ written and performed by multidisciplinary artist Zorana Sadiq, she made two statements that I had to write down quickly so I wouldn’t forget them: “I’ve always held the creative act in the highest esteem...listening is an act of love.”

Zorana certainly maintained the intent of these two statements close to her heart throughout this production.

And she didn’t disappoint at all.

Not one bit.

When Sadiq entered the auditorium and assumed her on stage mark, the overwhelming opening applause didn’t catch her off guard. She stood there smartly dressed in dark clothing centre stage, closed her eyes, lifted her hands in celebratory appreciation, opened her hands to catch the kinetic energy from the audience in fisted palms, and regally breathed in the moment and then continued.

Wow!

Crow’s bills ‘Mixtape’ as part memoir, part scientific inquiry and part love song to listening. When I interviewed Zorana a couple of weeks ago and asked her what she hoped audiences would take away from her performance, she stated: “I want them to come in with ‘open ears’ to this show. I don’t want to stack it with too much assumption and expectation. I would love it if the audience became aware of their own instrumentality. I actually think we are little instruments walking around making sounds, hearing sounds, and learning language.”

So, I came in with open ears to hear and listen to ‘Mixtape’.

Thank you, Zorana Sadiq, for allowing me to hear and to listen to music, its sounds and notes, in such a uniquely different fashion than I have before. I was completely captured by the story she tenderly shared while making me aware that, yes, we all are instrument of sounds. Additionally, it was a delightful soupçon to hear her dulcet vocal tones and sounds as I would love to hear Sadiq sing fully sometime soon. She is absolutely right in saying that listening is an act of love in making sounds and hearing sounds, and I was pleased I had a chance to experience it live with others.

I especially liked how Zadiq introduced the mixtape to us as something we all grew up making in our formative years “which showed who we are and what our tastes were” at that time She brought a giant boombox (how many of us remember having these? I sure do as I had one) and proceeded to give a scientific explanation of the cassette tapes that we used to record music from one cassette to another. Who remembers having to push the two buttons on one side of the boombox in order to ensure the recording would start and do its job on the other side? I certainly do.

Under Chris Abraham’s perceptive direction, Zorana Sadiq remained in complete artistic control of her emotions continuously as she shared segments of her life growing up and recounted some moments within her family that were sometimes poignant, sometimes difficult, a few sad and many funny. She is a marvelous raconteur of words combined with a knowing wink, pause, or look for emphasis. Instinctively, she naturally worked and gauged audience interest and maintained attention span. She kept the audience on its toes as there were moments where she pinpointed members to answer point blank questions.

Thomas Ryder Payne’s sound design nicely assists in moving Zorana’s story forward. I liked hearing the bell chime to indicate passage of time. Arun Srinivasan’s incorporation of spot lights on Sadiq at various points in her life sharply drew my focus directly to where it was required.

FINAL COMMENTS: Refreshingly captivating and emotionally engaging, ‘Mixtape’ is another must see as we emerge from this grand pause and return to the theatre.

Running time: approximately 90 minutes with no intermission

‘Mixtape’ written and performed by Zorana Sadiq and directed by Chris Abraham

The design team includes Thomas Ryder Payne - Sound Designer and live Sound Operator; Julie Fox - Set and Props design; Arun Srinivasan - Lighting Design; Cherissa Richards -Assistant Director; Neha Ross - Stage Manager

Runs to November 28, 2021, in the Guloien Theatre at Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue, Toronto.

For tickets, visit www.crowstheatre.com or call the Box Office (647) 341-7390 extension 1010 or boxoffice@crowstheatre.com.

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