Grad shines in local theatre shedding light on dirty business of oil

by | Mar 11, 2020 | A&E

John Grant, Arts Reporter

Humber alumnus Bahareh Yaraghi inspired on stage during ARC’s production of the theatre play OIL, proving that hard work and dedication are cliches that should be followed.

The five-time Dora Mavor Moore nominee graduated from Humber 10 years ago and has since moved onto pursuing her acting dream.

The Dora Mavor Moore award is awarded yearly from the Toronto Alliance for Performing Arts that honours opera, theatre and dance.

“I graduated in 2010, and I have to say I feel like I’m doing exactly what I dreamt of doing. I always said I just want to do good work with good people,” Yaraghi said.

“It’s kind of my goal always with every project just to challenge myself with a good script and work with people that are like-minded, and are driven in the same way and are just as passionate,” she said.

OIL starts in the 1880s with Yaraghi’s pregnant character, May, leaving her husband after a visitor at night shows her family how oil can be used.

The visitor tries to buy the land that her husband has owned to extract more oil.

As May and her daughter travel through a 200-year span of chaos and evolution, the play highlights how love can be a driving force in conquering all obstacles that we try to conquer with money.

OIL is a UK play written by Ella Hickson.

Directors Christopher Stanton and Aviva Armour-Ostroff revamped this play to bring it to the Canadian stage to spark a dialogue about how the world uses oil.

“Well, honestly, I’d love people to take away sort of a feeling of the scope of the depth of the history of the oil extraction industry and how deep the problems are,” Stanton said.

“It’s not just ‘Let’s all buy electric cars and that should solve the problem.’ There’s more going on here and it’s a much deeper conversation that needs to happen, “ he said.

Yaraghi learned many lessons while attending Humber’s theatre program and has incorporated them into her acting career.

“Humber prepared me to really listen to my gut and to really find myself as an artist. And it taught me how to bring a unique voice into every role and how to be comfortable in my own skin,” Yaraghi said.

“It showed me how to be creative and to not try to mould myself into any form. Being there allowed me to find my confidence as an artist,” she said.

With all the success she has received in plays that she has been apart, such as The Death of the King, Le Placard, Moment and Prisoner of Tehran, Yaraghi had words of encouragement for Humber theatre students trying to pursue their acting dreams.

“Be as fearless as you can. And even if you fall just keep getting back up because if your passion’s there, you’ll get there,” she said.