Reviews and Acclaim

 

CRITICAL PRAISE FOR WE ARE THE BODY

CALGARY SUN - LOUIS B. HOBSON

“FOUR STARS!”

“We Are the Body couldn’t be more relevant and unsettling.”

“McIver and Bratton… are so convincing in their multiple roles it is as if there were seven not three people in the cast.”

“Stephen Waldschmidt [directs] with such a creative hand…. Kooman’s writing is at its best.”

“McIver tears at the heartstrings.”

STEPHEN HUNT, CALGARY HERALD

“Andrew Kooman’s [We Are the Body is a] thoughtful, harrowing drama.”

“It all has the ring of authentic truth to it… it feels real.”

“The cast… turn in powerful performances.”

“Pattengale…bestows a kind of spiritual ferocity on Elsie…. Bratton’s Richard is more restrained… he’s a deeply spiritual man who seems determined not to give his captors the satisfaction of seeing him in anguish. As both Micah and the guard Petre, McIver delivers a strong, believable performance.”

RED DEER EXPRESS

“We Are the Body speaks loudly and clearly to virtually any audience, because the story is on many levels universal…. It’s a sobering reminder of how precious life is, but also how precious freedom is that ultimately enriches and injects purpose into our lives.”

“Waldschmidt clearly has a way with actors – Bratton, McIver and Pattengale are all exceptional…. Pattengale, in particular, is outstanding.”

“[We Are the Body is] a raw, challenging and inspiring exploration of a time in history which I believe is far too often overlooked.”

“Playwright Andrew Kooman clearly knows how to pen a compelling script, complete with well-rounded characters and engaging, insightful storylines.”

Mark Weber, Red Deer Express

RED DEER ADVOCATE

“They lyrical, intense script delivered an emotion-packed evening of theatre.”

“The play contains tremendous performances by the three-actor cast.”

“Kooman is a talented playwright, whose sparse, visceral dialogue can make viewers think and also hit them in the gut.”

Lana Michelin, Red Deer Advocate

THEATRE CRITIC COLETTE KEHLER

“Andrew Kooman’s bravely written work We Are the Body is rewarding, moving, and at times delightful…. The play’s scrutiny of the depths of personal loneliness and our innate impulse to cry out for companionship which leads to enlightening and uplifting realizations.”

“The character of Richard, a persistent sermonizer played with humour and tenderness by Tim Bratton, is dedicated to the memory of real-life detainee Minister Richard Wurmbrand, who wrote about his experiences when imprisoned for his beliefs in communist Romania.”

“Micah is a younger, less acquiescent inmate and an archetypal little brother.John McIver’s depiction of this apprehensive soul in search of reason and truth in life is remarkably easy to empathize with as he becomes jaded and falls away from his firm beliefs. A very raw side of faith is shown through his journey, exploring deep seated doubt, guilt and regret, almost as if from a child’s perspective.

But it is Elsie, played with exquisite sensitivity by Heather Pattengale, who captures the audience and draws us into this harsh reality. At times, she sits onstage just listening to Richard and Micah as, through tapping, they discuss, console, confess and pray, and through this simple device, we the audience become a fourth character, sat in a fourth cell, contemplating the same fathomless conundrums of human existence.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK

“A relentless, engaging, brutal, dissonant, poetic, challenging show.” — Joanne Loewen

“We saw this show in Red Deer and it is incredible. Thoughtful, challenging, ‘unsanitized’ and yet wholesome; mentally, spiritually and emotionally stimulating….. It will be the best $$$ you spend on drama/theatre [or]any movie this year.” — Steven and Sarah Ibbotson

“Gripping and powerful.” — Ashley Savage

“Engaging art, stunning symmetry in the storyline, actors that had you at “hello” and authentic and believable dialogue.” — Todd Rutkowski

 

CRITICAL PRAISE FOR THE FILM ADAPTATION OF SHE HAS A NAME 

“A riveting, fast-paced political thriller.”
– CALGARY HERALD

“A cinematic triumph!”

– RED DEER EXPRESS

She Has A Name is a hugely important film for this year, bringing home the realities of a global issue that must be tackled. I encourage everyone to [watch] it and help to fund freedom.”

– HER ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCESS EUGENIE OF YORK

She Has A Name “offers a unique and timely perspective into the realities of this crisis”

– CANON ANDREW WHITE, ‘Vicar of Baghdad’

“Scenes ring searingly true.”

– RED DEER ADVOCATE

She Has A Name “is a film of depth and detail, honestly portraying how countless people lose life and liberty to ruthless criminals.”

– KEVIN HYLAND, OBE, The United Kingdom’s First Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

“She Has A Name not only exposes the culture of complicity that allows human trafficking to continue, the film compels us toward private and public action; We are all duty bound to insist that the voices of victims replace their bound silence and that justice triumphs over injustice for them.

She Has A Name marks the beginning of our national movement to abolish the modern-day slave trade once and for all; We are proud of our local producers, cast and crew for elevating our awareness of this important issue.”

– MAYOR TARA VEER, City of Red Deer, 2016

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime that robs its victims, often young women and girls, of their most basic human rights. It is important that Canadian films such as She Has A Name are able to draw international attention to this disturbing business.”

– GORDON CAMPBELL, Former High Commissioner to the UK

“Simply stunning.”

– RED DEER ADVOCATE

“I commend the production team and crew of the film She Has A Name for drawing attention to the plight of the victims of human trafficking networks. Countless innocent lives are destroyed by this illicit, immoral trade – that such crime could flourish in the 21st century is unacceptable. She Has A Name supports Government of Canada and partner efforts to stem this crime,  which preys on the most vulnerable in society. I trust that the film will enjoy the broadest distribution and that it will stimulate further concerted action against human trafficking.”

– PHIL CALVERT, Former Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Lao

She Has A Name “is brilliant!”

– TABEA OPPLIGER, Founder of Glowbalact, Switzerland

She Has A Name “had me on the edge of my seat!  It will challenge you to do something!”

– KELLIE HOLBECHE, Founder of The Mission Worldwide and International Director for Iris Cambodia

“When I saw [She Has A Name] … I was really moved. One of the best films I have ever seen, and I don’t say that lightly.”

– MICHAEL DAWE, Author and Historian

 

She Has A Name - Canadian Tour - Montreal Gazette Review

CRITICAL PRAISE FOR THE 2012 CANADIAN TOUR OF SHE HAS A NAME

She Has a Name [is] a nervy, poignant drama that bravely tackles [the Asian sex trade]. Kennedy and Chew… both deliver strongly felt, nuanced performances” Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald – 4 Star Review

She Has a Name, Burnt Thicket’s powerful drama about human trafficking, is currently on a cross-Canada tour and it stopping at the Fringe Festival. Last time it played in Calgary it was sold out before it actually opened, so it should prove to be one of the festival’s hottest tickets.”  Louis B. Hobson, Calgary Sun

5 STARS ABSOLUTE MUST SEE! “This play polished to perfection. Be a witness toShe Has a Name and you’ll never be the same.” — Ignite 107 5 out of 5! “Some plays take your breath away.  She Has a Name crushes the breath out of you….  [It] pins you down in your chair, compelling you to watch even when you want to leave.” — Donald McKenzie

4 Stars! “She Has a Name is a play that is well performed [and] tells an important story…. The talented cast tackles the material admirably.” — CBC Winnipeg “This is heavy subject matter that resonates emotionally.”  – Uptown 

“Carl Kennedy enlivens his role with enthralling emotional resonance …. Kennedy makes it work beautifully as an idealist over his head even while [van Haastert] strengthens him with her own quiet heroism.” – Theatre in London

“Warkentin achieves a delicate determined grace futilely struggling against a practiced villainy that Sienna Howell-Holden makes frighteningly clear as the brothel madam, Mamma.” — Theatre in London

She Has a Name [is] a polished, well-acted production of a play with an urgent message about human trafficking.” — @patstagepage – Pat Donnelly, Theatre Critic, Montreal Gazette

5 out of 5! ~ “[She Has A Name] had its way with me…. A powerful, haunting theatre piece.” — Estelle Rosen, Charelbois Post

“The acting and writing in [She Has A Name] are both astounding. I know a play is doing something right when I find myself completely absorbed, and I was right there with the characters for every moment of this ninety minute show. Evelyn Chew is particularly compelling as Number Eighteen, a character who sheds emotional armour before our eyes.” — Michelle White, Bloody Underated

She Has a Name, by Andrew Kooman [did] not disappoint. This Calgary import about human trafficking is a road-tested show featuring some terrific actors, especially Evelyn Chew [as] prostitute Number 18 in a Bangkok brothel. It’s… very well done. Yes, worthy theatre does happen at fringes.” — Pat Donnelly, Theatre Critic, Montreal Gazette

“Provocative. Poignant. This is a MUST SEE!” — @JamieMcIntosh, IJM Canada

“Evelyn Chew’s performance is just bloody wonderful…. Chew as #18 [sells] the whole show, personifying the corrupted innocent who has internalized the monstrosity of her imposed new life.  It’s powerful medicine.” — Kevin Reid, The Visitorium

Critical Praise for She Has A Name by Andrew Kooman

 

CRITICAL PRAISE FOR THE 2011 WORLD PREMIERE OF SHE HAS A NAME

“She Has A Name [is] a heart-wrenching hit… 4 stars!” — Louis B. Hobson, The Calgary Sun

“An interesting and thought-provoking drama that works…. Kooman has created electrifying scenes [that] will make audience members hang onto every word.” — The Red Deer Advocate

“… [with] its powerful portrayal of a young woman trapped in the horrors of sexual trafficking in Thailand, the play was expertly directed, acted and written. — Red Deer Express

“Riveting…The depiction haunts me!” — Darcie Nolan, Eye See Media

“…it is the portrayal by Wong of someone embodying childlike innocence enslaved by fear that galvanizes the production, and gives it urgency and emotional depth.  From the get-go, our heart goes out to the character.” — Bob Clark, The Calgary Herald

“Red Deer playwright Andrew Kooman’s She Has A Name is a powerful drama ripped from today’s headlines. It tackles the chilling subject of human trafficking and in particular the exploitation of children who are sold into sexual slavery.” — The Calgary Sun

She Has A Name, a play written by Andrew Kooman, has shocked and wowed theatregoers who were fortunate enough to attend the performance.” — Strathmore Times

She Has A Name provides candid and authentic insight into human trafficking in South East Asia. The content of this play will make you feel uncomfortable, upset and enraged. As a young lawyer working in Cambodia, She Has A Name inspired me even more to dedicate my life to the thousands of children who are trafficked every year.” — Rebekah Armstrong, Solicitor Te Nahu Lovell & Co Executive Director of Prescha.org

“She Has A Name is a story that haunts me.  This play’s emotional journey will grip our audiences by the heart, offering them a meaningful encounter with the art of theatre.  But it is their live experience of Jason and Number 18?s powerful story that will inspire and stir them to lasting action.  I believe She Has a Name will be a force that moves many Canadians to become ‘new abolitionists.’” — Director, Stephen Waldschmidt

AWARDS + NOMINATIONS

She Has A Name - Film

  • 5 Top Indie Film Awards: Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Sound, Best Music (2017)
  • Audience Choice Award, Central Alberta Film Festival (2017)
  • IVCM Silver Crown Award, Best Drama; Alberta Film and Television Awards, Best Production Design (2017)
  • Official Selection: Amnesty International Film Festival “Cinema for Human Rights” Nice, France (2018)
  • Official Selections - Central Alberta Film Festival; Break Forth Film Festival; Missions Fest Film Festival; CIFF Film Festival; AUSGFF Film Festival (2017)
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    She Has A Name - Stage Play

    • Winner of the 2009 Scripts At Work / Alberta Playwright Network Award
    • 2012 Pick of the Victoria Fringe
    • Nominated for the 2012 Centaur Theatre Award for Best Anglophone Production