Twisted By Design’s White Noise is a retelling of the local story of Nadia Kajouji’s suicide, brought on by the urgings of an internet predator, to shed light on mental illness.
Margaret Evraire tells you why you should see it:
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White Noise is based on the true story of Nadia Kajouji, a Carleton University student who was encouraged to commit suicide by a man, pretending to be a woman, on the internet. The show employs a strong dance element to represent the crushing sense of loneliness and depression and how people look to people on the internet for salvation.
White Noise feels very much like a poem in theatrical format. It uses a very strong choreographed component, and the lighting is at times dark and sombre, signifying crushing loneliness. One of the most impressive moments was recreating the moment where the young woman jumps in to the river. The other actors recreate snow drifts and the powerful torrents and they suck her down. It is a very powerful moment that overcomes the audience. The performances are very strong and well-acted by the entire group. With that, there’s not really anything bad I can say about the show, and I can definitely recommend it. White Noise is a show that hits close to home, so I give it a four.
White Noise is a moving story about a young woman with mental health issues (severe depression) learning of Nadia Kajouji’s story and learning from it — while confiding in anonymous people may feel like a safe way to get help and while the internet may be a good place to find anonymous people, not everybody who pretends to be your friend is what they seem. (In Kajouji’s case, she was urged into killing herself by an internet predator in a suicide-support group, and ultimately took her own life, jumping into the Rideau River in the middle of winter.)
Christina Bryson and her team did an outstanding job creating imagery and emotion through their movement, and design elements. Their big movement/contact improv scenes are alone worth seeing this play for; the actual suicide scene in particular. The other component of the play, the dramatization of the story, felt a little telling not showing and might have been a bit tighter but on the whole was well done and included some verbatim components of chats between Nadia and her predator as well as recreations of vlogs that Nadia had posted online. There are lots of reasons to see this, not the least of which are to shed light on mental health problems, and because it all happened right in our backyard. Big four.
– by Allan Mackey
Group photos for this article taken for Production Ottawa by Production Ottawa photographer, David Pasho.
Second (and feature) image provided by Twisted by Design via the Ottawa Fringe Festival.