Written and performed by Tanya Pillay; directed by Jajube Mandiela. (thanks to Jenny Luong for the graphic design!)
Writer/actor Tanya Pillay's one-woman biographical play-cum-public dialogue…focuses on the life of Pat, her father.
It begins innocently enough, touching upon Pat's work in the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, and his
tremendous accomplishments as a husband, career microbiologist, and father.
The tale moves along with pauses for such audience interactions as Q&A sessions and the passing along of artifacts from Pat's life …when a bombshell of scandal is dropped and the tone irrevocably shifts.
moves from storyteller to discussion facilitator as the audience helps mediate the narrative of her
relationship with her
father and his
This makes for an unexpectedly engaging, and rewarding, piece of interactive theatre.
is an amazing storyteller and invites the audience into her
own story in an engaging and dramatic way.
We all know that traditional theatre audiences are dwindling and as a result exciting new forms need to be used to draw new theatre-goers.
All of Him makes theatre accessible to a wide range of populations, breaking down the elitist barriers that often exist and allowing for dialogue.
Our audiences at FemFest
had never seen anything quite like the show and loved the ability to pose questions of Tanya
throughout the performance.
All of Him, a one woman show written and performed by Tanya Pillay
at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace
as part of the 2010 Summerworks Festival, is like show and tell with a powerfully emotional sucker punch.
This piece is reminiscent of Show and Tell because there is no fourth wall.
Pillay speaks directly to the audience, and…from the onset, All of Him is a discussion between the performer and the audience…the audience's curiosity, their willingness to engage with Pillay and the story she is telling, and the perspectives and opinions of everyone in the room dictate the direction of the "show."
…Pillay speaks about…her father, a colourful character from South Africa who loved Gone With the Wind, made constant terrible jokes, who said things like, "when it is raining and the sun is shining a monkey and a baboon are getting married," who taught his
young daughter medical terms and obscure Latin phrases and told her
that everything he
had was hers.
then tells us about the…moment that, as a teenager, her
relationship with her
father changed completely and irrevocably:…Tanya's cousins were accusing her
father of [indiscretions]…
There's the sucker punch.
From then, Pillay
play open and allows the audience to ask her
questions, to delve into the depths of this situation and all its complex emotions, the questions of guilt, of innocence, of faith, of trust, of protection and moral and ethical social responsibility.
What makes this play work so well is how warm and generous Tanya Pillay
is with her
lures everyone into her
world with such congeniality and charisma that once it is revealed why we have been assembled in this space and why we are being taken on this journey, the audience is already invested in Tanya's story and therefore she
can draw earnest reactions, inquisitive and poignant questions from an audience who may not ordinarily feel comfortable sharing its thoughts with a bunch of strangers at the theatre.
At the performance I attended, the questions that were asked were both free flowing and insightful, and Pillay
answered them all with a brave openness, respect, genuine reflection and, thankfully, her
natural comic instinct, which keeps the piece from plunging too deep into a dark, sombre hole.
Jajube Mandiela directs the piece, allowing the fluidity to remain between Pillay
and the audience, but rooting her nicely so that her every movement has a clear motivation.
Still, it is clear from this performance that Tanya Pillay is an exquisite performer and one who can hold her audience entirely captivated in the palm of her hand whether she is making a terrible Jawsjoke or telling a very deep, very dark and horrific secret.
NOW Magazine http://www.nowtoronto.com/stage/listings/listing.cfm?listingid=38909&subsection=&category=&criticspicks=&date1=&date2=&locationId=0
ALL OF HIMPart play, part group discussion…All Of Him is writer/actor Tanya Pillay's look at her father and her feelings about him.
Engaging and brave, Pillay
starts with charming material but shifts to an upsetting episode that lies at the heart of the piece…Pillay's transparent, open performance grounds the show. (Jon Kaplan)
Media Contact: Tanya Pillay, Tanya@HypnoSage.com 647-299-2879
DOES THE TELEVISION EVEN TRY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS?
TORONTO, ON (2010/08/02) - Those who choose television over theatre may need to revisit that choice: a genre of theatre that really upstages the old tube can be found in Tanya Pillay
's All of Him.
Meet a jovial father with a dark past who asked, "Is that all there is to me?
All of Him is a live biography of Tanya's
father, Pat Pillay's life and death.
This "relational" storytelling, reality/documentary theatre piece treats the audience as a community, with open dialogue throughout.
This evolution of collective meaning rather than the usual consumption of television and traditional theatre bypasses the artifice and demonstration of theatrical performance.
All of Him is more real than reality TV because Tanya
narrates the story as her
self (no acting!) in complete honesty based on real-life events, and audience members may interject at any time if they feel something needs elaboration or clarification.
The story chronicles Pat's entire life as reported by him through humourous, relatable anecdotes.
With the rules of interaction being imposed on Tanya
rather than the audience, all interaction is completely voluntary and left up to the discretion of audience members.
provides rare transparency as the audience receives increasingly personal family information such as birth defects and criminal accusations.
favourite thing about the show is "the way each audience can take it in a completely different direction.
For example, when I presented the piece to a personal development group, they were especially interested in my perspective as a hypnotist.
In contrast, a group of young newcomers to Canada became very focused on discussing spirituality and bereavement.
is also an NGH-Certified Hypnotist for motivational purposes.
But not to worry, there will be no hypnotism in this show.
Programmed in SummerWorks Festival (Toronto,August 5-15, 2010, the largest juried festival in Canada featuring predominantly New Canadian plays) and FemFest
(Winnipeg, September 25-Oct 2, 2010, an annual celebration of transformational theatre by women for everyone), All of Him has garnered tremendous support and exposure since it's inception and first presentation at rock.paper.sistahz 2009 festival thanks to the mentorship and co-production with b current performing corps., (the only professional Canadian company which develops original theatre works reflecting voices from the Canadian Black diasporic communities).
If you can't catch the Summerworks
7-show run at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace
, the show is easy to tour to any gathering space for groups interested in opening discussion about difficult topics for community growth.
Tanya and director Jajube Mandiela have even designed a follow-up emotional-awareness workshop, Broach It!, in response to past audience requests for practical tools to manage difficult situations.
in betweenMedia contact: Tanya Pillay | Tanya@hypnosage.com | 647.299.2879
Digital projection - single frame - slide show by Tanya Pillay
Copyright © 2010 Tanya Pillay