CRAZY TALK: THREE STORIES FROM THE OTHER SIDE
by Jan Derbyshire, James O’Shea and Victoria Maxwell
Playwrights Theatre Centre Studio, Granville Island
October 25-November 4
$21/$15 at 604-231-7535
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby
$28/$25/$15$/12 at 604-205-3000
The unique dramatic format of this Solo Collective show brings
together three original monologues by different playwrights,
each with its own performer and director. The result is
an entertaining spectrum of different themes and styles. Crazy
Talk is the overall title but each playlet manifests its
own kind of craziness. From the manic-depressive experience of
bi-polar disorder to the hilarious nuttiness of an audition to
the sober insanity of war, it’s a mad mad world out there.
In Life Line, the opening piece by Victoria Maxwell,
Jane Heyman directs Lara Gilchrist as a bi-polar young woman
who has gone off her meds. Sam is overwrought and speedy.
Wearing a leopard-print bathing suit, she tells an incoherent
story about talking to a cat and listening to the grass to try
to learn where she’s left her shoe so she can find her
Things come into focus when she introduces her boyfriend and
lifeline Bob, recounts their budding relationship, and explains
what happened when she revealed her medical history to him and
he saw her at her full-blown worst. It isn’t pretty but
it’s certainly powerful. In a brave if slightly mannered
performance, Gilchrist manages to find both the humour and awfulness
of her character’s helpless descents into the abyss of
The woman in Jan Derbyshire’s The Audition of an Embarrassed
Woman, directed by David Mackay, also descends into craziness
but she chooses to. Dawn Petten is exhaustingly funny as an
actress who finds herself in an absurdly fantasmagoric audition.
Asked to do a string of the most weirdly impossible things,
she proceeds to do them all without hesitation.
From playing “an intelligent, confused woman in a style
that resembles an epileptic fit with rhythm” to enacting
a battle between feminists and traditionalists—with one
breast in her bra and one out—Petten pulls one terrific
gag after another out of her bottomless bag of comic tricks.
This was easily the audience favourite of the night.
Things turn serious again with James O’Shea’s Thbump,
directed by Del Surjik. Derek Metz plays a Canadian peacekeeper
on a UN mission in some unspecified country where the two sides
in a civil war “keep passing on hatred like it’s
the most precious gift they have.” Metz’s soldier
seems pretty solid except that he went a little crazy on a de-mining
detail, and he’s got this verbal hiccup “thbump” which
unconsciously slips into his sentences. It’s the sound
a shell makes but also, he tells us, the sound of his heartbeat
which lets him know he’s still alive.
Halloween gives us one day to celebrate the irrational. Crazy
Talk reminds us that irrationality in many forms is with
us all year long.