The Year of the Rooster Monk is a beautifully told story of a young girl adrift in life, trying to make simple dreams come true in the heart of Harlem where she resides, living in her mother’s apartment. It begins with a fateful call, an eviction notice, and concludes in the conjuring of a ghost as her only solution. All said and done by one very well defined character, all in the space of 1 hour.
Author and co-deviser, Giselle Gant, has allowed us a keyhole view of a period in her own life as we see her struggle as a jobbing artist, trying to survive in an unforgiving city. Her only support, her mother, is the one who delivers the eviction notice – withdrawing her final piece of support and forcing Giselle to find a way of supporting herself. In her desperation to save her apartment, and thereby save herself, she plans to audition for the role of Oda Mae Brown (yes, the medium in the 1990’s film, Ghost) but to ensure she gets the role, she decides to conjure the support of the ‘actual’ ghost that has haunted her apartment from the day they first moved in when she was still a baby.
If this description has at all made this play seem far-fetched, slap-stick or confusing, then please forgive me – as it really isn’t. Year of a Rooster Monk is a moving and totally brilliant look at life through the eyes of one person and covers a host of topics through a mellay of characters; from gentrification, depression, poverty, loneliness and so much more. But hold on tight – this is a fast moving piece that keeps you actively engaged from start to finish.
Directed by Nathalie Adlam and devised by Giselle Gant, Nadege Adlam, Nathalie Adlam, and Lydia Benecke, Year of the Rooster Monk is a touch of shining brilliance that held me captivated from start to finish.
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