Tarragon Theatre, in collaboration with Nightwood Theatre and Undercurrent Creations, is set to unveil Nikki Shaffeeullah’s debut play, “A Poem for Rabia”. This epic journey, running from October 17 to November 12, 2023, traverses time, oceans, and seismic shifts in political history.
The narrative intertwines the lives of three queer women from the same lineage: Zahra, a disillusioned activist in a futuristic Canada; Betty, a secretary in 1953 British Guiana amidst a burgeoning independence movement; and Rabia, an Indian domestic worker in 1853, ensnared by colonial ‘recruiters’ and shipped from Calcutta to the Caribbean.
Shaffeeullah’s sweeping production spans 200 years and three continents. It offers a kaleidoscopic view of the Indo-Caribbean diasporic experiences through the individual stories of these women. Each character grapples with their conviction amidst a world in flux – Zahra in a Canada that has abolished prisons; Betty in a Guyana on the cusp of independence; and Rabia, uprooted from Calcutta to the Caribbean.
Artistic Director Mike Payette notes, “The epic scope of Nikki’s cross-generational new play is as monumental as the women who paved the way for justice and independence for generations after.” He adds that Shaffeeullah’s play is “full of wit, poetry, and anachronism,” making it a feast for both the ancestors and today’s world.
Tickets range from $15 – $65 and can be purchased online at www.tarragontheatre.com, or by phone at 416-531-1827.
“A Poem for Rabia” is not just a play; it’s an exploration of lineage and bloodlines as empowering forces. It’s a testament to revolution, personal resolve, identity, and the triumph over intergenerational trauma. This world premiere promises to be an unforgettable theatrical experience.