I’m Not Here is about the downward spiral and loss of identity of Ariana, played with a yearning innocence by Alex Petrachuk. The yearning being for an idea of who she really is and what the world is about, and the innocence in her questioning how the world is so complex.
Ariana lists things she doesn’t understand about the world – string theory, the theory of relativity, Canada – while relating stories about her boss and a job she is increasingly becoming more disillusioned with by the day.
Upon entering the small venue, I was greeted by performer Shiong-En Chan and shown to my seat. The space is set-up well as a theatre-in-the-round, with seating around all four sides and has some audience members sitting at an oval table in the centre of the room which finds Petrachuk in its middle. Nadia Verrucci is also seating audience members and this was the first hint at the audience participation that would follow.
The show starts with a choreographed bit where we are all served cupcakes – very tasty I must say – and chilled herbal tea which helped cool me down a bit as the room was a tad humid.
Verrucci, who also handled the choreography for the show, deserves huge credit not only for high energy and fluid movements of this opener, but for what followed. Chan and Verrucci it seemed acted as an extension of Petrachuk circling the table in unified motion in good times, and with more chaotic movements in darker moments. I felt it definitely helped sell what Ariana was going through.
One thing I particularly enjoyed, besides the refills of chilled tea, was how well the three women performed together, often finishing each others sentences or simply echoing the final word from another’s dialogue. To me this showed excellent command of the script but also added a cohesion to the show which helped, in a way, to add an extra sound production layer to the performance.
I also particularly enjoyed the lighting choices of lighting designer and stage manager Isabel Quintero Faia. They were simple in the small room but had impact, particularly the soft blue light signifying nighttime and the rigged desk lamp operated subtly by Verrucci to give us the impression of a television.
Finally, if you like baking cupcakes, the program has four separate cupcake recipes including dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free options.
As of this writing there are only two more chances to see this show. While I’m Not Here is a story about a woman trying to find answers to questions and meaning outside of work and cupcakes, I think it’s more important to check it out to see how expertly a small space can be used to its full potential by three great actors.
I’m Not Here plays at hub14 (14 Markham St.)
- Saturday August 6th, 8:00pm – 9:00pm
- Sunday August 7th, 1:00pm – 2:00pm
- Sunday August 7th, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
- Sunday August 7th, 9:00pm – 10:00pm
- Monday August 8th, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
- Monday August 8th, 8:30pm – 9:30pm
- Tuesday August 9th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
- Tuesday August 9th, 9:00pm – 10:00pm
Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Youth Series tickets are $10, Live Art Series ticket prices vary. Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, by phone at 416-320-5779 and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 2-14 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted.
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.
Photo provided by the company.