One of the pitfalls of living in such close proximity to so many people in an urban setting is that it can make you a bit callous to the human condition. I recall this time last year when I was in a hurry to get somewhere and couldn’t use the subway because there was an indefinite delay due to “injury at track level”.
Out of frustration my immediate thought was, “Ugh, the bastard jumper couldn’t have offed himself in a way that doesn’t inconvenience me personally?” Right away, I was taken aback at the callousness of my own thought.
According to the playwright, Kate Fenton,Mister Baxter is inspired by a real life tragedy that took place on the TTC’s Bloor Line at High Park Station in the fall of 2009.
The play interweaves three subplots; a conversation between a recently-fired teacher and a teen boy on a subway platform, a teen couple stuck inside a subway car during a service delay and a husband and wife confronting each other over their disintegrating marriage. The ensemble cast ably executes the conflict and tension of Fenton’s script.
While it’s billed as a comedy/drama I found it to be much more the latter. As the plots progress and the tension builds between each pair of characters the mood gets increasingly heavy with only a few brief moments of comedic respite.
What stood out about the play for me was the exploration of the de-humanizing effect that living in a big city can have on individuals. We are so often de-sensitized to human suffering. By focusing on the specifics of one particular tragedy the play reminds us that every “jumper” is also a human being with flaws, virtues and a complex story.
The Quickening Theatre Company
in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents
Written by Kate Fenton
Directed by Adam Seybold
Performed by Brandon Crone, Justin Darmanin, Kate Fenton, Mark Gibson, Riley Gilchrist and Jordan Hayes
VENUE: Theatre Passe Muraille Main Space at 16 Ryerson Avenue
Thursday, July 7, 2011 – 10:30pm
Saturday, July 9, 2011 – 11:30pm
Sunday, July 10, 2011 – 2:15pm
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 – 7:45pm
Thursday, July 14, 2011 – 3:30pm
Saturday, July 16, 2011 – 7:00pm
Sunday, July 17, 2011 – 1:00pm
Ticket Price: $10.00
Tickets: www.fringetoronto.com / (416) 966-1062
Advance Ticket Box Office at the Randolph Centre, 736 Bathurst St.