After seeing a previous incarnation of Burcu Emeç’s one-woman show “tldr;smh” at the Revolution They Wrote short works feminist festival earlier this year, I was intrigued and very much looking forward to seeing it again at the Fringe. Now that I have, I must say I am thoroughly impressed with how much the piece has changed and grown over the past few months. The “but I’ve already seen it” excuse is not valid, as the show is almost completely new; only a few major themes remain and are now explored more in depth.
Emeç is a joy to watch onstage, and she has built this piece from something good into something great. A co-founder of the five-time META-nominated obra anais performance ensemble, she is obviously a very talented emerging theatre artist. With this one-woman show, she proves to be full of bravery and maturity, and quite well-informed on the state of the world. She is definitely an artist to look out for in the future.
In “tldr;smh”, through speech and projections, she touches on the question of safe spaces before delving into issues of Kurdish identity, sexual assault, islamophobia and different occurrences of race-based violence, mostly against women. “tldr;smh” is modern, relevant, and a perfect example of how art can and should deal with important subjects to incite change.
With an old-school projector, Emeç displays a series of images and text, creating a more engaging alternative to video projections. Though the layout of the words and pictures on the screen might have been more polished in a pre-made video, it is far more interesting to see the performer move them around in real time. One series of projections creates a funny little video game called “Lady Jiyan against the White Capitalist Patriarchy”, a lighthearted display of female empowerment that quickly swerves into less pleasant territory, highlighting the all too common reality of victim-blaming in cases of sexual assault. A hard reality emerges out of the humor and the onscreen defeat of sexist men: in real life, there is no winning for the victims.
“tldr;smh” manages to say a lot in a short amount of time. Mixing personal anecdotes and global issues, it is a balanced piece, relatable but never self-indulgent, and thoroughly moving. As a fellow woman of color, talk of “places where people know how to say my name just from reading it” made me want to just sit down with the playwright/performer and talk about our respective experiences of being a minority no matter where we go. I wish I’d had more time to fully process some of the information displayed on the screen before it disappeared and was replaced by the next thing, but as a result I left the show motivated to do my own research on the war stories that are touched upon. The only issue is that – being less informed and less awakened than the creative force behind “tldr;smh” – I am not quite sure what I should be typing in my Google search bar…
Overall, “tldr;smh” is an excellent show: amusing at times, heartbreaking at others, and one that will (unfortunately) hit home for far too many. A truly unique creation, inspiring both in its artistry and its content, it is a must-see for all women of color, women in general, or people of any gender who care about the women in their lives.
Nightshade Ensemble presents “tldr;smh”
When: June 10 – 18, 2017
Where: Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire, 4750 Henri-Julien Ave.
Duration: 30 minutes
Tickets: www.montrealfringe.ca | 514.849.FEST (3378)
Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival