The Figgy Figs stages a play dealing with anxiety and paranoia at The Box in Toronto
The Figgy Figs’ MorbidAbnormalMe manages a tricky thing: it tackles the subjects of anxiety and paranoia without feeling heavy. I admired the performers’ wide variety of stage images and creative use of song, movement, and audioclips. Overall, however, this play wasn’t for me.
I believe that mental health is a very important topic, and I admire the performers’ courage in putting something so personal on stage, but I was simply underwhelmed by the play as a play. I found it amusing at times, but not hilarious; mildly interesting, but not fascinating. In summary, I thought it was okay.
There were parts that I liked. My favourite moments were the exam in the doctor’s office — funny use of staging — and the playful argument. For me, the real-life friendship between the performers was one of the strongest aspects of the play. It made their onstage relationship feel more authentic.
I think the others in the audience enjoyed this play more than I did; they certainly laughed more. My friend Anna, with whom I attended, particularly liked the parts with singing. I enjoyed those parts, too — both performers have excellent singing voices.
It’s also worth mentioning MorbidAbnormalMe’s unusual venue: a theatre inside an ordinary apartment building. It was neat to see an artistic space reclaimed from the mundanity of everyday life. Unfortunately, the seats were crowded very close together, and, on the night I attended, the room quickly became hot.
In addition, I had trouble seeing the performers whenever they sat or lay down. Although I sat in the third row, I missed several important sequences — including the opening scene — because they took place on the floor.
Mostly, I wish the play had been more ambitious. The audio clips and onstage scenes did a good job of illustrating the performer’s life with anxiety and paranoia, but I didn’t think the illustration went anywhere. What was the draw for the audience meant to be? What was the message of the play?
Perhaps the object of MorbidAbnormalMe was simply to bear witness to a character sketch: here is this person, and here is her experience of anxiety and paranoia. If so, mission accomplished. I only wish that the play hadn’t stopped there.
- MorbidAbnormalMe played on September 2-3, 2016 at The Box Toronto (89 Niagara St #103)
Photo provided by the company