Wednesday, 12 August 2009

SummerWorks '09: More Reviews

Waiting for the Dawn
I interviewed Mathew Romantini in 2006 about his production of Gorey Story. I didn't get a chance to see that performance, so when I ran into him at the Factory Theatre and found out he had a play in SummerWorks, I knew I had to see it. Anyone who can adapt Edward Gorey's work to the stage is someone I need to follow up with. After committing,though, I wondered about liking the play. I'm almost always honest in my feedback and would have to tell Matthew the truth when I next saw him. Well, Matthew can rest easy. I was very impressed.

Dancing the role of Mr. Vain Imagination, Matthew's moves are sharp, staccato and strong with punctuations of curves and flows that question the nameless world he inhabits. Matthew's acting ability and comic timing makes us accept his transition from Mr. Vain Imagination into the red heels and hat wearing Ms. Idle Fancy. Don't mistake this for a drag show, Ms. Idle Fancy has some serious questions to ask God. We are asked to meditate with her as she waits for the dawn and an answer from God. The wait in silence is sometimes uncomfortable for Ms. Fancy and the emotions that play on her face as she self-consciously stands before us is brilliantly performed by Matthew. My only criticism of the play is that Ms. Fancy's dialogue goes on for a bit too long in comparison to the stage time allotted to Mr. Vain Fancy. I can't wait to see what Matthew Romantini and "Dawn" writer/director, Erika Batdorf will stage next.
Venue B: Factory Studio Theatre *55 minutes
Fri. August 14th 8:00pm, Sat. August 15th 2:00pm

Impromptu Splendor
My Impromptu Splendor will not by your Impromptu Splendor, because it is a new improvised play every time. As an audience member you will get to chose the title, plot points and setting of your Splendor. My improvised play was called "The Perverted Metronome" and was in the style of David Mamet. The comic trio of Ron Pederson, Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram ran an aluminum siding office. Along with typical Mamet touches of swearing, repetition, criss-cross and double-cross, there were perversions that happened on stage that I cannot share with you. Get your own Splendor. At the end of each show, a member of the audience will be selected to choose the style that the next audience will see, so if you go on August 13th, your style will be à la Tennessee Williams. Enjoy the company of strangers...
Venue C: Passe Muraille Mainspace
Thurs. Aug 13th 10:30pm, Sat. Aug 15th 4:30pm, Sun. Aug 16th 6:30pm

Job's Wife,
People pray to God for many things (jobs, health, wealth), but when their prayers are answered they are not always satisfied. Yvette Nolan's play, Job's Wife examines this issue as it relates to a pregnant young woman and her image of God. I loved the staging of this play, especially the draping of Baby Spirit (Falen Johnson) in a womb-like "basinette". The music/sound elements provided by Jason O'Brien are a perfect complement to the Native sensibilities of the play. Keith Barker is extraordinary in the role of Josh/Him. His natural acting style and movements as he transitions from one character to the next is captivating. Unfortunately for actress Nicole Joy-Faser, Barker's mellifluous delivery makes her line readings sound staged and discordant to the ear. Baker exudes reality; Joy-Fraser acts reality. I can't dismiss this play because of one weak performance; there are just too many things right about Job's Wife.
Venue D: Passe Muraille Backspace *45 minutes
Fri. Aug 14th 4:00pm, Sat. Aug 15th 8:00pm, Sun. Aug 16th 4:00pm

SummerWorks runs until August 16th
Photo Credit: all photos by donna g

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