Review: This Is The Point (Ahuri Theatre)

liz-macdougall-and-tony-diamanti-in-this-is-the-point-photo-by-lacey-creightonAhuri Theatre brings open, funny honesty to Toronto stages with This Is The Point

Going into The Theatre Centre last night to see This is The Point, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting to be (figuratively) knocked out. I was tired, and cranky, and just hoping the show would be good.

This is The Point by Ahuri Theatre is an emotional, honest, and exceptionally funny show about four people whose lives have been shaped and influenced by Cerebral Palsy — both directly and via close proximity. Shows like this are precisely why I am such a vocal Theatre Centre fangirl.

The Theatre Centre is, for me, one of the most diverse, experimental, and challenging theatre spaces in Toronto. I’ve had so many amazing, illuminating, educational, and touching experiences there. This is The Point is another in a long list of emotionally honest productions that have affected me deeply. It made me cry, made me think, and mostly made me laugh.

This is The Point is a story about two couples. Dan Watson and Christina Serra are a couple expecting their third child, whose young son Bruno lives with CP (Cerebral Palsy). Tony Diamanti—described as “a non-verbal adult who won’t shut up”—and his long-time romantic partner Liz MacDougall are both affected differently by CP (as is common with this condition, we are told by Liz).

I was immediately drawn into the space—large, open, and inviting—and the stories, lives, pains, loves, and joys of the two couples. Tony especially—whose original play this show is based on—immediately charmed and delighted me, my companion, and the audience with his perverted humour.

As Tony (with some assistance from Dan) guides us through his communication process—using a letterboard with a specially made head-affixed pointer, whose words we read aloud back to him—he makes jokes and takes us through stories, ranging from funny, to disturbing, to sad.

In one particular scene—immediately following another incredibly creative, intense scene emphasizing Dan and Christina’s love for each other—Dan switches into an abusive brute, angry with Tony for firing him. My companion and I were both jolted by the reality of caretaker abuse, and how incredibly vulnerable someone with extremely limited mobility can be. We know that these things happen, but like many people, are far removed from them.

That’s what much of this show is: reminders that people with disabilities, like each of us, are merely different, and inhabit a world not necessarily designed for them. There was no inspiration porn, no clichés, and no punches pulled.

Though the show was 80 minutes without intermission, it flew by. I feel that revealing much more about the stories would give too much away.

In addition to the giving, honest, and open cast, credit must also go to the director Karin Randoja, whose unique staging—combining live action with video projection—elevated the experience, heightened the emotion, and enabled multitudes of layers to emerge; layers which would have been impossible with only live action.

There is so much more I could say about This is The Point: why it evoked my various emotions, what happens in every scene, what kind of sandwich a very pregnant Christina makes herself (it’s pretty gross), whether or not Tony and Liz go all the way on stage. But there are word limits, and more importantly I want you to go see it for yourself.

This is The Point is a show I won’t soon forget, and it’s the kind of theatre I’d love to see more of in Toronto, especially in larger, more mainstream venues.

Details

    • This is The Point is playing until November 20, 2016 at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West)
    • Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, with an additional matinee on Sundays at 2pm
    • Ticket prices range from $17 – $30, with special pricing for students, seniors, and arts workers, and are available online, or through the box office at 416-538-0988
    • Some performances have ASL interpretation and
      Audio Visual description. See website for details
    • This is a relaxed performance

Photo of Liz MacDougall and Tony Diamanti by Lacey Creighton