Emery students, Harold Stanis and Mohamed Ali at the Theatre Passe Muraille.
A play that presents young black males in interesting, and challenging situations.
On November 16, twenty male students from Emery C.I. went on a field trip to the Theatre Passe Muraille at Bathurst and Ryerson to see the play called Secrets of a Black Boy.
Emery students were part of a larger group of students from the Toronto District School Board. Nine schools, including Weston C.I. and Downsview S. S. were invited to attend the play by Chelsea Takalo of the TDSB’s equity department.
Secrets of a Black Boy, written and produced by Darren Anthony, is a play that presents black males in interesting, and challenging situations.
A play about five Toronto youth that meet in their old Rexdale neighbourhood....
The play is about five Toronto youth who meet in their old Rexdale neighbourhood to reminisce, and discuss issues and events that helped to shape their lives. The five characters are Biscuit (Samson Brown), Jakes (Troy Crossfield), Jerome (Mark Sparks), Sean (Julien Hyacinthe,), and the main character, Sheldon (Al St. Louis).
The play is a mix of comedy and tragedy. It includes funny vignettes like “The Wife Checklist” and scenes about the tragic circumstances under which Biscuit lost his brother to gun-violence. Biscuit wonders when he will also become a victim of violence.
Chelsea Takalo, of the TDSB Equity Department, felt that it was important for young black males to see this play. “Exposing students to theatre arts provides opportunities for young people, especially young racialized boys, to have conversations teachers may not feel comfortable having in classrooms. Bringing them into this kind of space with people who look like them, allows them to feel more comfortable,” she said.
Samson Brown pointing out that the play is important for the general black community.
“It speaks to everybody, but it is important to hear the voices of black men. Society likes to tell us that what we have to say isn’t important. People assume that we’re just angry black men. But as you saw from the play, there are many reasons why we’re angry,” he said.
He said that the play helped him to come to terms with the unfortunate murder of his brother.
Although the play deals with difficult and mature subjects, it was good to be exposed to the ideas it presented, and to try to find answers to what it means to be a black male in Toronto. These kinds of trips are entertaining and educational, and are not very common.
Nathaniel Ncube, one of the Emery students said, “The trip was good. The play taught me how to be a proper man.”
Students are eagerly looking forward to the next school trip that teaches them contemporary lessons about themselves.
By Eloghosa Ogiesoba