HEADLESS/The Play by Marbles Theatre is currently playing at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace for this year’s Fringe Festival. The title is a bit misleading, since the show is less of a grim murder mystery and more of a comedy. The show (directed by Bruce Hunter and written by Tommy Jeff McAteer) is based on a real 2014 George Brown playwrighting class, and centres around the meta-commentary of the nature of writing, acting and theatre.
It begins with two classmates struggling to get off the TTC and make it to their final workshop. Then, we turn to the final workshop where the rest of the class is waiting to see who will win the award for best writer. There is talk of missing dogs, birthday parties, and even a possible murder of a classmate who’s been absent for weeks. I felt a little lost trying to follow all the different points.
It’s not that these qualities were bad. All of these elements were funny and interesting in their own way, but I found the connections were a bit loose. For example, the show promotes itself by handing out mimic-Hershey chocolate bars with the title HEADLESS on the label. I’m a fan of delicious promotion, but the only connection I could see to the play was that a character that I never saw brought chocolate bars to one of their first classes, which was mentioned in passing.
However, the show does a great job of exploring the difficulties of a writer’s workshop. This subject hits close to home for me. Every character had their own genres and techniques that they stood by. Every character had writing weaknesses that they recognized, but showed no sign of fixing. Headless presented the frustrating example of a room full of writing hopefuls. The class was simultaneously competitive and supportive.
The first night viewing had some missteps. Some lines were flubbed or paused, but other cast members would help pull them out of the rut. Seeing a supportive cast made little blips more funny than awkward. I’m chalking it up to first night jitters.
If you want to think about the nature of writing with some laughs thrown in, you could always give HEADLESS a try.
- HEADLESS/The Play is playing until July 11th at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgman avenue).
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the peformance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
- Warning: Mature Language
July 03 at 08:45 PM
July 05 at 01:15 PM
July 07 at 07:00 PM
July 08 at 01:45 PM
July 10 at 01:45 PM
July 11 at 11:30 PM