Debaj hosts innovated hip hopera ‘Brotherhood’

Sabastien Heins stars in the one-man show ‘Brotherhood’ at Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning. photo supplied

MANITOWANING—The Larry E. Lewis Studio at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning hosted ‘Brotherhood,’ a one-man show that chronicles the rise and fall of a hip hop star, Cash Money, and his brother, Money Pussy.

Written and performed by Sebastien Heins and directed by Karin Randoja, the non-stop, high energy show tells the story of two brothers living the ‘hip hop life.’ It takes the audience from the 1970s to the future, fast-forwarding/rewinding and woven with rhyme, with Mr. Heins playing over 17 different characters.

Mr. Heins explained, following the show during a talk back session with the audience, that the production started as a 15 minute-long project while he was attended the National Theatre School in montreal.

“We were asked to come up with one question and I kept thinking ‘what if I had a brother’?” said Mr. Heins. “That led to a lot of questions and evolved into the concept. I have always loved hip hop music, so I thought that would be a great vehicle to tell the story.”

Growing up in the west end of Toronto, Mr. Heins said that he was the son of immigrant parents, his mom from Jamaica and his dad from Germany.

Mr. Heins spoke about how the production had evolved from its first time being performed as a 15-minute project.

“I expanded it to tell the story of their (the brothers) parents,” he shared. “I also had a version where it went really into the future, but the production you saw tonight is after we cut two-thirds of the show and rewrote it, adding three new scenes and songs. It’s an ever evolving production.”

Writer and performer of ‘Brotherhood,’ Sabastien Heins, talks about the process behind the development of the production during a talk-back session with the audience.
photo by Robin Burridge

It is very evident, during the production, the amount of character development that Mr. Heins put into in establishing each distinct persona.

Debajehmujig Artistic Director Ron Bertie commented on how beautifully the production was choreographed and commended the entire production team on how all the elements worked together.

‘Brotherhood’ premiered in Toronto as part of A B Current AfteRock Plays in 2014. During the 2017 tour, the production has been performed in Whitehorse, Calgary, and Burlington. Up next, it will be heading to the Undercurrents Festival in Ottawa, the Workshop West in Edmonton and Delhi, Bombay in India.

Mr. Heins said he hopes ‘Brotherhood’ continues to grow and would like to get a run at becoming Mirvish Production in Toronto, followed by an off Broadway run in New York.

For more information about ‘Brotherhood,’ visit bcurrent.ca.