Ottawa

The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God at the National Arts Centre

This restaging of Djanet Sears’s landmark comedy-drama The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God opens Friday night at the National Arts Centre. A cast of 22 performers bring all the high spirits of a revival meeting to the stage.

Play about grief, redemption and racism told with music, dance

The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God runs at the NAC until Nov. 7. 0:44

Clapping hands, voices raised in song and bodies swaying to gospel music, The Adventure of a Black Girl in Search of God which opens Friday night at the NAC theatre, has all the uplifting power of an old-time revival meeting.

When the play premiered in 2002 in Toronto, it was hailed as a breakthrough in Canadian theatre.

Now the playwright and director, Djanet Sears, is restaging the work with a cast of multi-talented actors in a co-production between Montreal's Centaur Theatre and the National Arts Centre. 

'The search for the meaning of life'

The play looks at whether or not it is possible to maintain faith in the face of senseless tragedy, and it also examines the importance of heritage and community.

The plot is inspired by the true story of a determined group of black people in western Ontario who fought to keep the name Negro Creek when the town council sought to change it for politically correct reasons. 

"I can summarize it by saying it involves remarkable love, an extraordinary funeral, and the search for the meaning of life," said Sears.

Dramatic themes may run through the play, but it's told with humour and music.

Sears said she was inspired by theatre she saw in Africa in her 20s, where the telling of the stories was shared by everyone in the cast, actors, singers, dancers and musicians.

Here she is talking about her goal to educate, entertain and enchant with her production.

Play runs at the NAC until Nov. 7. 0:46

The CBC's Alan Neal spoke with Djanet Sears on Wednesday, along with Lucinda Davis, the lead actor in the play.

The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God opens tomorrow night at the NAC and runs until Nov. 7.