talk – Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company – Jane Mallett Theatre

By Sam Mooney

Talk at Jane Mallett Theatre

Until tonight, all I knew about talk was “Clashing views about the Middle East conflict threaten a friendship in this drama.” I expected that it would be difficult to “ignore” the politics and concentrate on the theatre. I also expected that it would be, if nothing else, an interesting play.

Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company’s production of talk at the Jane Mallett Theatre is not only interesting, but a wonderful evening of theatre. The play entertained me, left me with a lot to think about and didn’t hit me on the head with a hammer.

It’s a multi-layered play about the fragility of friendship, the importance of words, deeply held political views, our need to be right and our inability to listen. And it’s much funnier than I expected.

Michael Rubenfeld as Joshua and Kevin Bundy as Gordon both gave perfect performances, the conversation flowed and the asides were wonderful. I admit to having had thoughts similar to theirs in the middle of a conversation with a friend. You could feel their 18 year friendship unraveling over one word spoken by Clothilde – the invisible Clothilde, she doesn’t appear in the play – Gordon’s fiancée-to-be.

Each of them had a strong need to have the other agree with their point of view but neither was able to listen or cut the other some slack.

The play could be a metaphor for the situation in the Middle East, each side convinced they are right and neither side able to hear or see the other’s point of view.

Elaine, my play partner, and I had no quibble with the play or the performances. Elaine mentioned how well the asides were staged using lighting. It was very effective.

As part of this production, there’s a program called “Talk after talk” with a different speaker or panel after most of the performances. Normally there’s a 10 or 15 minute break between the performance and anything happening afterwards so that anyone who doesn’t want to stay can leave. That didn’t happen tonight. I would have stayed anyway but it’s always nice to have a choice. I’m sure that the reason I am even conscious of it is that I didn’t connect with the speaker at all and it took away the afterglow, moving me much too quickly out of the sphere of the performance.

Still, I highly recommend talk. Definitely worth seeing.

Details

talk is playing at until March 20th at the Jane Mallett Theatre (27 Front Street East)
– Showtimes are 8 pm with 2 pm matinees – it’s a bit complicated so go to this online chart to days and times – there are 8 more performances.
– tickets prices range from $39.00 to $69.00 with a limited number of $20.00 tickets available for each show. Monday March 15 at 8 pm is PWYC.
– Tickets are available by calling 416-366-7723 or visiting the Jane Mallett box office