By Adam Collier
Ever (at the Mainspace of the Tarragon through July 12th) is a down-to-earth story about life in a town in North-west Ontario.
Its protagonist is a young woman named Em (Manda Whitney). She has just received a scholarship to study astronomy at the U of T, which means she would move away from home – a town closer to Thunder Bay and Winnipeg than Toronto – to pursue academics.
This poses a major dilemma. Em’s mother (the terrific Angela Joyce Froese) is acutely unstable, seemingly perpetually stoned on prescription drugs, and full of resent toward her late husband. She neglects Em, but – somehow – there’s a familial bond. Em is wracked by guilt about leaving her mom.
At times easing this dilemma, and occasionally amplifying her guilt about possibly leaving is Em’s best friend Dave (Mike Fenner, who offers a lot of range).
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Dave complicates Em’s dilemma – that really seems to be mother-daughter issue – but his own situation offers a lot of detail about the little town Sioux Lookout where they live.
The characters and setting of Ever are unusually rich and felt. Sioux Lookout doesn’t offer any of them much more than bad memories and a resounding sense of insignificance. So what we see of these characters is, at first, carefully cultivated personas – distractions – from the conditions.
But what makes this play great – a step above just a portrait of life – is the cast (also starring the hilarious Louis Adams and equally funny Neil Cameron) and writer/director (Jonathan Hoss) deftly explore the emotions below the neurotic personas which make day-to-day life in Sioux Lookout bearable.
– Ever is playing at the Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave.)
– It is playing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, with performances continuing through Sunday July 12th. Remaining shows include: Monday July 6th at 2:45, Tuesday July 7th at 5:15, Thursday July 9th at 9:45, Friday July 10th at 1:45 and Sunday July 12th at 3:30.
– Tickets $10 at the door, in advance at www.fringetoronto. com
– More info is also available at www.everplay.ca