I’m early, and it’s the first day of the Toronto Fringe Festival. I'm here to see Grade 8 at the Tarragon Theatre’s Solo Room, a one-man show starring Producer/Poet Dwayne Morgan.
Grade 8 is a combination of monologues and poems that tell the fictional story of a father raising his daughter on his own, SPOILER ALERT after the untimely death of his childhood sweetheart.
Every new dad wonders what type of parent he's going to be. It’s natural, and to be truthful, very frightening. Change the narrative and picture yourself suddenly being a single dad to a little girl.
The story develops quickly with touching moments within the first 15 minutes. From age 5 to 12, we discover the thoughts, fears, successes, and challenges of raising his daughter. We get glimpses of what day to day life is like; dealing with buying his daughter’s first bra, working around her liking boys, and flunking school because of them.
Some funny moments underscore this otherwise serious piece; misdiagnosing a headache for the beginning of her menstruation, or when his daughter encourages her dad to start dating, and when he musters the courage to give his daughter advice on dealing with boys; “they are the devil” he warns.
With a one-man show, the challenge is keeping the audience’s full attention. Dwayne Morgan knows just how to give you enough to keep you in the palm of his hand.
Expect top-notch poetry, intelligently crafted lines, interspersed with some social commentary.
Grade 8 continues until July 11 in Toronto.