Story of struggle and survival conveyed through theatre

NANAIMO – Anatolia Speaks is a fictional account of a Canadian immigrant sharing a refugee past

The journey of a Bosnian refugee in Poiema Productions’ Anatolia Speaks will have audiences looking at their country with new eyes, said actress Candice Fiorentino.

Anatolia Speaks, a one-women show written by playwright Kenneth Brown, takes audiences into an ESL classroom where a new Canadian tells a story of struggle, passion and survival.

The refugee, Anatolia, means to give a light presentation about Bosnia and her experiences as a new immigrant working in Edmonton’s Superstore. But as her classmates question her about the past, the character begins to reveal more depth to her journey.

“I’m the kind of actor that enjoys doing shows I’m proud of … that really have a message and this has that,” said Fiorentino, who plays Anatolia.

“I think it opens your eyes to Canada and that we are a place for people all over the world  and … [it] gives a new outlook on immigrants and [what they might have gone through].”

The show makes its debut performance in Nanaimo Sept. 14, fresh off the circuit in Alberta and Ontario where it picked up five star reviews and Pick of the Fringe.

Brown, best known for his plays Letters in Wartime and Life after Hockey,  tells the story of a “sweet and awkward” refugee who showcases her love of the simple things Canada offers against the backdrop of war-torn Bosnia.

The story set in the 1990s is a “drama-dy,” taking audiences on the highs and lows of the character’s life journey, according to Fiorentino. She believes it’s picked up good reviews because it inspires true emotion.

“The script is phenomenal,” she said. “There are nights where people are laughing hysterically for the first half of the show and the last they are silent and crying,” she said.

This is the first time the Edmonton-based Poiema Productions has shown a performance in the Harbour City. The curtains will lift on the production  Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Nanaimo Centre Stage and 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 15.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students and can be purchased at the door or click on the current events calendar at http://centrefortheartsnanaimo.org.