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Friday, June 14, 2024

Theatre review: Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of is rooted in reality

Urban Ink Productions’ Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of, is the story of a hip-hop crew coming to terms with the shooting of one of their own, the young and talented DJ Sammy.

Referencing real-life events and people keeps the production grounded and rooted in reality.

The play centres on the once tight crew and how each of the surviving members handles their grief of Sammy (and how their different coping mechanisms affect the dynamic of the artists. Along with the three remaining crew members (Kim Villagante, Jordan Waunch and Letitia Brookes), Freddy’s younger but wiser sister Naomi (Letitia Brookes), provides words of wisdom and Mac/Sha-ney-ney (Billy Merasty), the transsexual sex-trade worker who becomes the de facto narrator, fills in the spaces.

Referencing real-life events and people keeps the production grounded and rooted in reality. Taking inspiration from the shooting of an unarmed Freddy Villanueva six years ago in Montreal, the performance touches on race relations, prejudices, stereotypes, sexuality, class disparity and police brutality. The work incorporates hip-hop and rap, video and pre-recorded sound to help flesh out the emotional state of its characters.

A uniquely interactive production, Sal Capone begins as guests wait in the Roundhouse Exhibition space before entering the theatre. As the audience explores the concurrently running installation of street art curated by David George Morgan, audience members are invited to create their own piece of art. As the show is about to begin, Sha-ney-ney appears, preparing the audience for what’s about to come: “this shit’s about to get real”.

Sal Capone is indeed very real. You won’t want to miss a moment.

Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of. Written by Omari Newtown.  Directed by Diane Roberts.  An Urban Ink Productions presentation developed in association with Playwrights Workshop Montreal and produced in collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop and The Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre.  On stage at The Roundhouse Performance Centre through May 31.  Visit for tickets and information.

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