Sexy Black Men: a Vancouver guide to loving women and learning to love themselves
Peter John Prinsloo, Awaovieyi Agie and Hayden
Thomas hamming it up – photo David Cooper
A Common Man's Guide to Loving Women
Firehall Arts Centre
November 11 to December 3, 2005
written by Andre Moodie
directed by Denis Simpson
starring Awaovieyi Agie, Kwesi Ameyaw, Peter John Prinsloo and Hayden Thomas
Where can you find four sexy black men, who are hip, urbane, and live
in Vancouver's trendy Yaletown neighborhood? Well… believe it
or not – at the Firehall Arts Centre on the corner of Cordova St. and Gore St. in the Downtown Lower Eastside.
Denis Simpson directs the Andrew Moodie play “A Common Man's Guide to
Loving Women. Set designer Derek Butt has created a beautiful urbane
condominium that every person would want to live in. A wide
screen tv with a kick-ass sound system, complimented by a very cool
dining set complete with clear acrylic chess set. This is not
some “gangsta crib in the 'hood.”
Ontario playwright Andrew Moodie has created a wonderful play that
explores the lives of four Afro-Canadians, which Simpson has set in
Yaletown. It sort of reminded me of a cross between Quebec
Afro-Canadian writer Dany Laferriere “How to Make Love to a Negro” and the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre's productions of “Sex in Vancouver.”
Yes, the black men talk about large penis size and basketball – but
their characters are developed into real sensitive people. You
could almost substitute any ethnicity into this play, and the issues of
male bonding, sexual inequality, relationships, and sexual abuse will
still be substantial to carry the play.
Peter John Prinsloo and Hayden Thomas offer up some denial – photo David Cooper
As I watched the play, the characters slowly revealed their inner
secrets, while they talked about women and their relationships with
women. All men can relate to these conversations, both
insecurities as well as sexual conquests. Afterall it's a guy
thing. I think that women will both be intrigued and shocked by
what these four men talk about. It will be like being a fly on
the wall, as these men talk about what they like about women and how
they reveal both their frustrations and satisfactions about women.
The dialogue is witty and full of surprises. There are scenes
which lull you into thinking that “this is reflective of black culture”
– the old school music, the basketball hoop, but the play always throws
a curve ball. Nothing is really as it seems.
Some wonderful acting by Awaovieyu Agie (Chris), Kwesi Ameyaw (Wendle),
Peter John Prinsloo (Greg), and Hayden Thomas (Robin). The
characters are friendly and real – you can almost imagine hanging out
with them on a weekend night. They make references about going to
The Roxy and Skybar, as well as other Vancouver landmarks.
Kwesi Amyaw and Awaovieyi Agie “Show me the money or show me the door” on the path to a deeper friendship – photo David Cooper
As an Asian male, I am glad to see VACT's productions of Sex in
Vancouver, and other plays – it is nice to see Asian males protrayed as
simply cool urbane males instead of gang members, computer nerds,
waiters or coolies. The same must be true for African Canadians
in Vancouver, where Hogan's Alley (Vancouver's original black
neighborhood) was pretty much destroyed to build the Georgia Viaduct.
This play is cool and it will push buttons and make you think about
your own relationships with women and male friends. I remember
how Vancouver Theatre was all a-buzz when Talking Dirty came out at the
Arts Club. Tell your friends about this one. Remember – “A Common
Man's Guide to Loving Women” at the Firehall Arts Centre…. who could resist?