Still Life is a story that follows four characters as the incidents of one night unfold. The play jumps all over the place with regards to timelines, adding a nice element to the piece but also felt like many different theatre styles all thrown into one. Some of them worked really well – and some just missed the mark for me.
The piece begins with the very natural and talented Alisha Stranges telling us a story of when she kissed a girl and was hurled abuse. Her monologues were delivered consistently throughout the show, and she told her story with a frankness that drew me in. The play then develops with a gay couple, one of whom is cheating and then gets beaten for no reason other than his sexuality. They are all brought together in the hospital to deal with this horrible event.
The problem for me was some of the individual scenes, which at times felt a little under-rehearsed. I believe that the collective came up with the script as they created and rehearsed it, as it has a very improvised feel to it. Sometimes it works because it feels very natural, but other times they are tripping over each other’s lines, which took me out of the action.
I think if they gave this piece to a scriptwriter they could take those ideas and really tighten the piece up. I also had a problem with sound, especially the character of Matt, whom I had a really hard time hearing.
There were some interesting staging choices that I liked, such as the dream sequence and the concept of bringing furniture in and out during a scene. The use of the one light was very effective, but at times I felt as though the incident was staged more like a torture chamber or interrogation. That may have been a deliberate choice, but since everything else was so real I think I would have been more affected if that element had been realistic too.
This show posseses some interesting ideas and some very frightening realities. I think that Still Life will have great potential with a little bit more rehearsal, and by working out the kinks in the script.
Still Life is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace at;
August 8 @ 9.30 pm
August 9 @ 7.00 pm
August 11 @ 4.30 pm
August 13 @ 9.30 pm
August 14 @ 2.00 pm
– All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows