fbpx

Grades 7 – 10

Touring November 11 – 29, 2024

Fourteen-year-old Simone is caught between cultures: Canadian, Québécois, and Trinidadian. She’s also torn between friends and the projects they want her to take part in. Can Simone find the courage to stand up for what she believes in? Will her friends accept the choices she makes? And will she finally learn to be more comfortable with herself? Simone, Half and Half is a touching story about finding one’s place between identities and communities.

Kiera Sangster

Director

Jillian Cooper

Simone

Benjamin Faulknor

Jay

Hadley Mustakas

Sarah

Jewell Bowry

Vanessa

Christine Rodriguez

Playwright

Courtney Moses-Orbin

Set, Prop & Costume Designer

Stephon Smith

Sound Designer

Sara Allison

Stage Manager

Monica Dufault

Artistic Director

To know or not know. “Where are you from?” Everywhere. “What are you?” I don’t know. These words are spoken at the beginning of the play by its driving force, Simone. Throughout the play, we contemplate its answers. Reiteration depends on who asks the question. Simone, Half and Half explores what it means to walk through this world with non-physical blinders, built-in personal protections and the unknown biases we all hold about perceived Blackness. What do we all share beneath the colour of our skin? Love, Friendship, Kindness and, above all, Understanding. The play opens the door to conversations about shadeism, appropriation, assimilation. While experiencing growing up with ideals and personal practices directly in-conflict with our learned experiences. Join us as we explore and bring to light topics on the tip of everyone’s tongues…. If not, I ask, “Why not? and when is the right time to start the conversation?”

We are given today to learn from our tomorrows.

Kiera Sangster

Director

Simone, Half and Half is a captivating production by playwright Christine Rodriguez. The play delves into profound themes surrounding identity, systemic racism, belonging, multiracial experiences, and allyship and serves as a powerful reminder that learning about Black Canadian history is an integral part of our collective Canadian narrative.

Accompanying this production is a meticulously curated study guide for educators, offering a wealth of resources and strategies to facilitate critical discussions and promote growth and learning among students. As an anti-racist educator focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion at Brock University, I see this study guide as holding the potential to empower educators and students alike to consider their roles and responsibilities in combating systemic racism and fostering equity. Through the lens of Simone, Half and Half, audiences are invited to confront their own biases and prejudices while gaining a deeper appreciation for the diverse experiences of marginalized communities. It also prompts reflection on the importance of respecting individuals’ experiences and needs, while encouraging us all to consider how we can take collective action both inside and outside our educational institutions.

I am excited for everyone to experience Simone, Half and Half and the transformative discussions and insights it will undoubtedly inspire.

Dr. Leanne Taylor

Associate Professor, Brock University

A Note on the Carnival Costume Design

Trinidad Carnival serves as a powerful celebration of diversity, creativity, and cultural resilience. Through its elaborate costumes and masquerade traditions, it embodies the complex tapestry of influences that have shaped Trinidadian culture, paying homage to both the African diaspora and European heritage while asserting a distinct Caribbean identity.

Incorporating elements from the African diaspora into the costume design involved a nuanced approach that respects the cultural significance and authenticity of the sources. I drew inspiration from traditional clothing, rituals, ceremonies, folklore, and historical events that have shaped the identities of African-descended communities around the world. These influences are particularly pronounced in the portrayal of traditional African masquerade characters such as Jambalassee and the Orishas, which pay homage to ancestral spirits and folklore.

Jambalasse aka Jab Jab is a post emancipation masquerade dating back to 1834 when slavery was abolished across the Anglo – Caribbean. In French “Jab” means devil, a derogatory name that masters called their slaves. The chains being worn symbolized the bondage of slavery.

Osishas are deities revered in the Yoruba religion, which originated in West Africa and were brought to the Americas through the transatlantic slave trade. These deities are often associated with various symbols, including shells, horns, and specific colors. These symbols hold deep significance within the religion and are used to represent the attributes, domains, and characteristics of each Orisha.

Courtney Moses Orbin

Set, Costume and Props Designer