Visit Us
email us

Vierge is a new play by Rachel Mutombo now playing at the Factory Theatre in Toronto. For those who do not know the meaning of the word and think that Greek instead of French should be Canada’s second language, the word is indeed French and it means Virgin. Its use may have something to do with the official language of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the origin of the author and characters of Vierge.
The play has four teenagers of Congolese origin in Canada. Grace (Yvonne Addai) and Sarah (JD Leslie) are recent arrivals in Canada and they share accommodation with Divine (Shauna Thompson ) and Bien-Aimé (Kudakwashe Rutendo).
They are supposed to be studying the Bible with Divine as the instructor. She is innocent, naïve and eager to instruct them. Grace and Sarah are not interested in Biblical studies and what with hormonal rushes they want to talk about fun and sex, laugh and drink a little at first and then a lot of tequila.
The evangelical church that they attend has an impressionable and impressive pastor who will have a dominant presence throughout the play even though we never see him. The girls become quite boisterous, laugh uproariously and disclose ugly experiences and suffer worse.
Divine relates a horrifying series of encounters with the pastor. He takes her for apparently innocent rides in his car to help her cope with the ugly reality or her home life. The car rides become a despicable series of groping and sexual assaults that horrify the young girl.
Bien-Aimé has unpleasant experiences to relate and she tells Divine about them. Divine wants to see the pastor to speak to him about Bien-Aimé. She goes to his office after drinking a lot of alcohol and the pastor rapes her. She can recall almost nothing.
Vierge is Mutombo’s first play and it is greeted with well-deserved enthusiasm. It has humour, enthusiasm, drama and tragedy. This is also Natasha Mumba directorial debut and it shows an uncanny ability to keep four innocent, over-excited and giddy teenagers going through various moods.
The actors perform with vigour and enthusiasm but Divine is the quieter of the four as she tries to keep them focused on their Biblical studies but in the end, she is carried along by her own natural instincts and the energy of the other girls. Rutendo is an attractive girl who has the same stimuli as the others. JD Leslie and Addai are firecrackers full of energy and laughter. Excellent performances by all.
The four characters speak with pronounced accents and I assume they are Congolese. Divine’s and Bien-Aimé’s accents are less prominent than those of Grace and Sarah’s. The programme indicates the presence of a Dialect Coach (Sarah Shippobotham) and I assume she drilled the actors into speaking with a Congolese accent. I admit to having considerable difficulty understanding the dialogue or following the details of the plot. Unfortunately, I could not get a copy of the script to prepare me for the frequently impenetrable accent. I cannot blame the actors for doing a good job.
Vierge by Rachel Mutombo continues until Aril 30, 2023 at the Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario.

April 28, 2023
Cultural - Κριτική Καλών Τεχνών

Join Our Newsletter and Get the Latest
Posts to Your Inbox

No spam ever. Read our Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.