Challenging and Honest Storytelling: Kanika Ambrose’s Tasting Shorts

By Yazmeen Kanji

Kanika Ambrose is a Toronto based playwright and a 2018 Composer-Librettist Laboratory (LIBLAB) participant with 3 works featured in Tapestry Briefs: Tasting Shorts. Kanika has loved opera since she was a teenager and is thrilled to, “marry something I love so much as a spectator with my artistic practice”. After writing her first libretto Eshna for the LIBLAB, Kanika was fascinated by seeing her works grow into fully composed entities in less than 48 hours.

As a playwright, Kanika directly engages with powerful human emotion and creates stories that are challenging and honest. Her most recent work is a play entitled Reception about an old black Caribbean couple. Kanika believes in the importance of Reception and similar works because there are still not enough works featuring the stories of black couples and particularly older black couples.

Although Kanika’s writing is often inspired by stories of black Caribbean people, she believed it would be “foolish” to come into LIBLAB with pre-existing notions of what her libretti might explore. Her first work, Eshna explores the hidden grief of a man whose partner has just had a miscarriage. Her other works explored stories ranging from bickering bed bugged lovers to a refugee couple struggling to find freedom, to an VR feature on the re-emergent voices of slaves lost in the Middle Passage. Kanika’s Eshna, to those fleeing persecution…, and Of the Sea can be seen at Tapestry Briefs: Tasting Shorts this September 13-16 at the Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery District.

Yazmeen Kanji is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Cinema Studies, Equity Studies and Peace Conflict and Justice Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She is an emerging filmmaker and the founder of a filmmaking organization called Films With A Cause.

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