You know from the title of the show that #scarecrow is trying to be edgy and current. When I walked into the Robert Gill Theatre (214 College St.) to see this production being put on at the Toronto Fringe Festival, this was confirmed for me.
#scarecrow tells the story of a group of high-school friends reeling from the death of Tesai (Dana Dyal), who left their low income neighborhood several years back, after graduation. The plot was often murky. I found that certain details were omitted much longer than necessary, and this was not in service of the story. Certain plot-lines felt extraneous, and I thought that the play could have been cut down from 90 minutes to an hour.
The dialogue between characters was very good in the parts that it was not being leveraged for heavy-handed exposition. The core of the story was strong though, and I felt that solid leading performances from Dana Dyal as Tesai and Celia Aloma as Melanie carried it. The other actors did a decent job; however, I thought that they were brought down by a cluttered script, as well as the fact that many of their characters felt unnecessary to the main plot.
The tech was worth noting- there was a screen behind the actors onto which live video feeds of the show were being projected, shown in a Youtube frame. There were also text messages and dating sites thrown up on the screen. I thought this was really neat, but I was never convinced that the show needed it.
Given the fact that productions are decided via lottery, the Fringe festival is a bit of a crapshoot. Some of the shows you’ll see have a high production value and feel very polished, others less so. If I compare #scarecrow to campus theatre, from which I draw most of my own experience, I think it’s a decent show. However, compared to some of the other productions I’ve seen at the Fringe, I’m not sure how it measures up.
- #scarecrow plays at the Robert Gill Theatre. (214 College St)
- Tickets are $10 at the door, $12 in advance. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warnings: Mature Language, Sexual Content.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
- Friday July 1st, 05:15 pm
- Saturday July 2nd, 09:15 pm
- Monday July 4th, 06:30 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 12:00 pm
- Thursday July 7th, 03:30 pm
- Friday July 8th, 09:15 pm
- Sunday July 10th, 02:45 pm
Production photography provided by Hard-Bitten Productions