I opted to sleep in on Saturday, which was a pro-active way to avoid being outside in the scorching heat longer than absolutely necessary. My first play of the day was Wayne Paquette’s A Body of Water. Madagascar, my favourite production at last year’s Fringe, was put on by the same company, so I knew I would be confronted by an engaging, thought-provoking drama. Coralie Cairns and John Sproule as a woman and a man without memory of themselves or the place they awaken in, were perfectly confounded, and sustained their energy throughout the twists and turns as they endured numerous “truths” of their supposed identities. Beth Graham, however, was the definite standout – besides having to act in a long-sleeve shirt, pants, and a sweater to boot in the furnace of the Telephone Museum, she was chilling, fluidly moving from one story to the next without pause. She was exhausting just to watch, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, attempting to catch something – a wince, a blink, a nudge – that would betray her true nature. Even now, two days later, I still have no idea which of her accounts were ultimately “true” – but perhaps that isn’t the point – it is the revelation of how susceptible we are without our personal narratives and remembered experiences, and how much at that point we have to rely, naked and blind otherwise, on others.
I met up with Annie and Andres for 25 Plays About…Love at the (yay!) air-conditioned Arts Barns. I remember seeing advertisements for the original production, 50 Plays About…Love, a few months back at Latitude 53, but didn’t have a chance to make it out at that time. Like most plays comprised of short, unrelated vignettes, there were some that were better than others. In this case, I found that the majority were a miss rather than a hit. We saw representations of very different kinds of love – of the hockey game, of one’s body, of routine, but my favourites were of the romantic kind: the snippet involving the man who could see into the future, the old couple sitting in the park, the young couple bickering in the car on the way home from a dinner party. The “bad dancing” portion of the show was amusing, but seemed somewhat misplaced. Though not wholly disappointing, I’ve seen similar shows executed much better than 25 Plays, so I can’t recommend this one.