Somali girl is focus of ‘Snapshot Silhouette’

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LEWISTON — A Company of Girls will present a multimedia performance of Kia Corthron’s “Snapshot Silhouette,” a play focusing on Najma, a Somali girl of 12. Performances will be Saturday, May 29, at Downstage.

The play begins with Najma reading from her notebook as she recalls the droughts, famine and political upheaval that led so many to flee her country. She lives with Tay C., a fellow classmate who is not happy with the arrangement. Najma is waiting for her mother to come to America, but changes in the political climate make it difficult to get money to her in Somalia.

Tay C is grieving for her sister who was killed two years earlier in gang crossfire, a tragedy her mother seems to avoid dealing with. Tay C is also angry because she believes her mother is trying to replace her sister with Najma.

Tay C is impressed by Najma’s ability to rap along with the music she listens to. Memorizing rhymes comes easily to Najma because in her culture history has been converted to poetry and passed on through oral tradition.

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Tay C’s mother is impressed, too and wants to do a poetry jam with Najma. Tension between the two girls grows, climaxing in a fist fight. Eventually, they reach enough of an understanding for a friendship to develop.

“Snapshot Silhouette” will be performed at 1 and 5 p.m., followed by panel discussions of the Somali culture. Downstage is at 5 Canal Street Alley, across from Pine Street. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for children. They may be reserved by calling 874-2107 or visiting www.acompanyofgirls.org.

The “Snapshot Silhouette” cast includes 15 actresses: Akech Allolding, Naomi Mutombo, Dorcas Thete, Gracia Chitam, Brianna Guptill, Nikki Maines, Isabel Terracciano, Hannah Smith, Emma White, Rafaella Zabot Hall, Lily Fernald, Eliza Skidgel, Maya Letourneau, Elena Moll and Marie Spiller.

The production is directed by Odelle Bowman, with costumes by Christine McDowell, lighting by Justin Moriarity and video by Susan Bickford.

A Company of Girls is an award-winning, nationally recognized theater and arts after-school program that has been in Portland area for more than 14 years.

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