Stage Door News

Toronto: Kama La Mackerel brings “ZOM-FAM” to Buddies in Bad Times November 3-6

Friday, October 14, 2022

Buddies continues its fall presentation series with a limited-engagement run of award-winning multidisciplinary artist Kama La Mackerel’s interdisciplinary solo piece ZOM-FAM.

The piece charts the coming of age of a gender-creative child growing up on the plantation island of Mauritius. Multiply voiced, the performance brings together ancestral voices, femme tongues, broken colonial languages and a tender queer subjectivity. Published as a collection of poetry in 2020, ZOM-FAM was always envisioned as a performative text, imagining what it is to see poetry in motion. The performance makes its premiere on the Buddies stage after two showings with co-producer MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) were shelved due to the pandemic.

"After more than two years where this show has been held "in suspense," it is thrilling to have this work finally meet an audience" says creator and performer La Mackerel. “As a queer immigrant who first lived in Ontario before moving to Quebec, Buddies was the first theatre where I ever saw queer performances in Canada. Being able to bring ZOM-FAM to Buddies is an absolute dream come true.”

ZOM-FAM is a true interdisciplinary piece that takes full advantage of La Mackerel’s multi-arts practice, combining dance (both Indian Kathak and Mauritian sega), storytelling, ritual and spoken word to grapple with Mauritius' colonial legacy. The interdisciplinary nature of the show pays homage to the show’s title, which means man-woman in Mauritian creole, but also denotes the link between the human and the divine. In moving beyond colonial binaries, La Mackerel hopes to offer a new model of expression and way of being.

Kama La Mackerel is a Mauritian, writer, multidisciplinary artist, translator, and educator based in tio’tia:ke (Montreal). In 2021 they received the Canada Council’s Joseph S. Stauffer Prize for Emerging Artists in Visual Arts. Their poetry collection, ZOM-FAM, published by Metonymy Press in 2020 was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, a Best Debut by the Globe and Mail, and was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize of the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Over the past decade they have also created and curated various performance opportunities for queer and BIPOC creators, including GENDER B(L)ENDER, a queer open stage running from 2013 to 2018 that featured over 600 queer performances across more than 40 editions.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents an interdisciplinary solo by Kama La Mackerel


In Mauritian Kreol, “zom-fam” means “man-woman” or “transgender.” This intimate solo brings to the stage Kama La Mackerel’s award-winning eponymous poetry collection. Through dance, storytelling, spoken word, and ritual, the piece weaves together ancestral voices, femme tongues, broken colonial languages, and a tender queer subjectivity, all of which grapple with the legacy of plantation servitude.

Kama La Mackerel // text, artistic direction + performance

Mathieu Leroux // dramaturgic advisor

Andrew Tay + Rhodnie Désir // choreographic advisors

Sophie Gee // external eye

Jon Cleveland // light design and technical direction

Evan Stepanian // sound design

Nalo Soyini Bruce // set design

Co-produced by the MAI.

Performance information:

Previews: November 1+2

Opening Night: Nov 3

Closing Performance: Nov 6

Runs: Tues-Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm

Tickets: Sliding scale ($10 / $25 / $40 / $70)

Photo: Kama La Mackerel. © 2020 Val-Bah.