WCT’s latest show, Café Daughter opened at the Pavillion Theatre downtown Kamloops last week on Thursday. Their latest show follows the story of Yvette Wong (played by Tiffany Ayalik), a Chinese-Cree girl who struggles with her identity and has a troublesome youth.
We follow along with Wong’s life and watch her be hidden away from her Cree family, struggle with racism towards her in school for being Chinese, and see her loving home life slowly disappear.
This story was also inspired by the early life of Canadian Senator Lillian Eva Quan Dyck, the first female First Nations senator and the first Canadian-born Chinese senator. Remembering that this play had been inspired by a senator offered a whole new importance to this show, on how racism in Canada towards minorities is real.
Tiffany Ayalik had an amazing performance as she played the character of Yvette Wong, and we watched her grow up right before our eyes. What was even more amazing was how she displayed 11 other characters as well. Ayalik swiftly would change her voice and mannerisms to completely transform into someone new. It was absolutely remarkable and I was so amazed at how she kept myself and the audience entertained and enthralled, even as she changed her costume on stage.
The set and lighting design was also extremely well done, both designed by T. Erin Gruber. There was so much beauty in it, and it helped Ayalik move throughout the space evenly and comfortably. It was abstract but served the purpose of the story very well, and the lighting helped to bring attention to important moments and added an element of mystique to it.
The projections and sound effects also offered some insight into the show. A lot of Ayalik’s movements were mimed, so the effects behind her that were projected and the sounds helped to define what was happening and where Ayalik was for the audience.
My only complaint is that I would have loved to see Ayalik’s character really embrace her Cree ancestry at the end. Since this show was inspired by someone else’s life, I can understand why some things were the way they were in the show, compared to how they could have been. This one-woman production showed an amazing side of history, and how even though we do enjoy inspiring stories of people, it’s understandable that in reality, that might not be true.
Café Daughter was an excellent choice for Kamloops and combined many important themes around racism in Canada. I would highly recommend this show to anyone, especially for Ayalik’s stunning performance.