In a time when we spend more time on our screens than interacting with humans, Monica is the social justice warrior you didn’t know you needed. Toronto Fringe Festival presents a 60-minute comedy Monica vs. The Internet: Tales of a Social Justice Warrior at the Tarragon Solo Room.
Award-winning Filipina storyteller Monica Ogden sheds light on activism in the age of the internet, mixed-race identity, and why white feminism is like Lays chips.
Monica vs. The Internet: Tales of a Social Justice Warrior is an exhilarating exclamation of what it means to identify as a person of colour, specifically one with Filipino heritage, in western society. I looked forward to seeing a fellow Pinay artist represented in the performing arts realm.
As we enter the black box theatre, Monica Ogden proudly displays an adobo shirt. She then uses a Filipino greeting “Mabuhay” to the audience and encourages them to respond in the same manner.
Rather than cater to the majority, Ogden cleverly integrates Tagalog into her performance. It seems as if we are in her home and she is speaking partial Tagalog, partial Ilocano, and partial English to her family members (the audience).
To me, the reluctance to explain every word in the Filipino language is an empowering statement from Ogden. In line with her sentiment about fighting off white supremacy, it’s as if the use of her grandmother’s native tongue is a way to resist conforming to the “white norm.” Why should people explain their native language to English-only speakers?
The backdrop onstage is a screen is filled with warnings that explain that the performance will include discussions of anti-racism, bigotry, and PTSD to name a few. Ogden brings controversial topics to light in a bold manner. I suddenly feel like I am transported smack dab in the middle of a whirlwind of activism.
Ogden shares her journey as a female. She openly shares unhealthy relationships, her doubts, and fears. Her raw, open, and vulnerable portrayal of her past is hauntingly beautiful.
Ogden uses negative social media comments as evidence to the racism that she faces. Being American, I can’t quite comprehend the level of racism that exists in Canada that Odgen mentions in the piece. I can, however, make parallels between Canada and America. It would be interesting to see Ogden’s viewpoint on a global perspective, perhaps how Canada compares to America or Britain.
If you are a bit of a feminist, a bit of an activist, or looking for a little bit of social justice, this piece is for you.
- Monica vs. The Internet: Tales of a Social Justice Warrior plays at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warning: mature language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. Check in at the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime, and a staff member will escort you to the venue. Accessible seating is in the front row.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Wednesday July 3rd, 6:30 pm
- Friday July 5th, 10:00 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 3:15 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 6:45 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 5:00 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 8:00 pm
- Friday July 12th, 5:15 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 1:30 pm
Photo of Monica Ogden provided by the company