Thursday, 12 August 2010

SummerWorks Review: Even Darkness is Made of Light

The aptly named, Even Darkness is Made of Light, is a one-woman dark comedy featuring the playwright herself, Edwige Jean-Pierre, as the teenage Carrie Edison, who develops depression following the death of Carlos, the object of her affection. The two used to hang out together in a favourite, but precarious spot, doing drugs and taking about homework and how life "sucks".

As a major Twilight fan, Carrie sees Carlos as her Edward but it is never quite clear whether or not Carlos sees Carrie as his Bella. We meet Carlos in flashbacks, but the whole performance is from Carrie's perspective, so we only have her words on the status of their relationship. The heightened emotions of a teenage girl combined with depression could lead the viewer into wondering what is true and what is imagined by Carrie. Are the health care providers and a youth motivational speaker who are supposed to help Carrie with her illness as incompetent as they seem, or is this Carrie's view of them? The play could be read either way which brings depth to the script.

What is certain is that Carrie's suicide attempts have alienated her from her friends at school, who don't know how to talk to her about her illness, and damaged the trust her younger sister had in her; the former scene is hilarious to watch while the latter is resonates with heartbreaking innocence. What is also certain is that Carrie cannot live without her Edward nor can she deal with the pain of her depression. Her plan to exit the world is both comic (the plan she masterminds is called "Operation Exit F!@#$% Up Planet") and tragic as she thinks up various ways to leave this world behind. Underscoring and enhancing the humour and pain in the play are music selections (from Lilly Allen to Frank Sinatra) that mirror and advance the story.

Well-directed by Patrick Conner, Edwige Jean-Pierre enthralls as she brings all the characters to life and pulls the audience into the chaotic, teen-romantic bubble that is Carrie's life.

Rating: **** 4/5 Stars

The Theatre Centre (Queen/Dovercourt)
Friday, August 13, 10:00 PM
Sunday, August 15, 2:00 PM
Box Office: 416-504-7529

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