By Crystal Wood
My first thought after watching The Emotionalists was “Wow, this is a really good play.” My second thought was “Wow, this is a Sky Gilbert play?” That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed his other work, but it’s quite different in style and tone from most of his Buddies in Bad Times fare. Mr. Gilbert, if you’re reading this, more The Emotionalists please!
I’m probably the only person in the world who didn’t read The Fountainhead in my teens, so I know Ayn Rand only by name. You don’t need to know much about the woman or her philosophies before going in, though, because the play is clear and entertaining in its own right.
The Emotionalists takes a look at Ayn and her circle of friends, as well as a troubled young man who comes to seek her advice. Over the course of the play, we find out about their affairs, childhood traumas, latent homosexuality and more. The characters each react to their situations with different levels of emotion (you know, as humans do) which contrasts with Rand’s objectivism, or “rational self-interest before all else.” Yes, I had to look that up. Of course, no one can live by philosophy textbook alone, so hypocrisy and unhappiness keeps rising to the surface.
The production is a very polished one, with an especially impressive performance by Soo Garay as Rand. There’s also a lot of attention given to the set design. It’s got that Mad Men feel that everyone loves these days, and the staging and design also makes good use of the Theatre Centre venue.
– Playing at The Theatre Passe Centre, 1087 Queen Street West.
– Running time: 75 min
– Showtimes: August 12th 5:00 pm, August 14th 2:30 pm, August 15th 7:30 pm
– All individual Summerworks tickets are $10 at the door (cash only)
Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee)
– Tickets can be purchased online at artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, or in person at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Avenue)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see multiple shows
Photo of Soo Garay and James Downing by Denise Grant