[boxhead] – Buddies in Bad Times

By Alex Rayment

So have you ever wondered what would happen if you put an existential philosophy textbook, a handful of amphetamines and the witty banter that goes on in your head after staying up for 72 hours into a blender?


Great – ’cause [boxhead] by Crow’s Theatre in association with Mammalian Diving Reflex at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is your answer.

This wonderfully put together piece is, in my mind, a great representation of what modern (or rather post-modern) theatre should be. It’s thoughtful, well written, and extremely well executed by both cast and crew. Knowing the kind of planning and consideration goes into any production, I have an enormous amount of respect for everyone involved with this show.

The play is structured around a long, wandering and fast paced train of thought. It brings a number of things into question that you may, or may not, have wondered yourself in those hours of deep contemplation we set aside for ourselves everyday.  Or, failing that – coming home drunk on the bus at nothing o’clock in the morning.

Covered in the first twenty minutes are things both straightforward, like ‘what’s my life’s purpose?’ as well as things slightly more abstract, like ‘who says you really are alone in your mind?’. And, that’s just the beginning too. From there it bounds off with the enthusiasm of a small child that just learned how to run.
Now I must admit I do have a bit of a bias on this one. No, no, I’ve never had a box stuck on my head. Well actually…uh, no, never mind. My bias is that I like to think. It’s just the way I am.   I could sit and contemplate pretty much anything for hours.

My entertainment was certainly enhanced by this characteristic, but it didn’t hinge on it. The subject matter is presented in such an upbeat and fun way that it distracts you from the fact that you’re taking in questions mankind has pondered for hundreds – even thousands – of years.

Not once did I feel like I was being beaten over the head with some snobbish, know-it-all artist’s opinion of the world. Profound ideas are brought up comically in passing, with just enough said to entice your curiosity. It seems to me that the major overarching opinion of the playwright (Darren O’Donnell) is his desire for  the audience to investigate these ideas through whatever means they find works best for them.

I have one disclaimer should you wish to see this piece – the dialogue is very quick. If you’re not the type of person that can pay constant attention, you run the risk of getting lost. But if you like fast and witty banter or you have great respect for my opinion [clears throat] then make the time to see it.


[boxhead] is playing until November 2nd at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St.)
– Prices are Tues/Wed: $20, Thurs/Fri: $25, Sat: $29, Sunday (Matinee): pay what you can
– Shows are Tues-Sat @ 8pm and Sun @ 2:30pm
– Tickets are available via phone (416-975-8555) or email (boxoffice@artsexy.ca)
Photo of the cast of [boxhead] by Beth Kates