Review: The Debacle (Nightwood Theatre)

The Debacle by Susan Leblanc-Crawford and  Anne-Marie Kerr is a one woman show about a woman on the brink of losing everything. Directed by Anne-Marie Kerr and starring Susan Leblanc-Crawford, the play is part of The New Groundswell Festival presented by Nightwood Theatre.

Throughout the performance, the protagonist, Margaret is ensconced in a makeshift wooden structure, surrounded by symbols of her relationship with her dying sister, preserved in jars. The items are used to tell the story of her life with her sister, both the joys and the failures. Her reminiscences are repeatedly disrupted by the persistent ringing of the phone, which she is unable to answer.

Since sisterhood is such a key theme of this work it is very appropriate for the New Groundswell Festival. The festival’s goal is to promote the work of female playwrights and also to support works in progress. The other shows in the festival are Between the Sheets by Jordi Mand and The Aftermath by Lisa Codrington. Groundswell also includes an Industry Series comprised of readings, masterclasses and discussions focusing on new play development.

The Debacle is a production of Zuppa Theatre Co. based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The company’s ensemble develops original works and collaborates with artists in other disciplines. In addition to sisterhood, the show also explores themes of abandonment, regret and the importance of memory. It was clear to my companion and I that The Debacle was a work in progress but the work definitely has potential.

– The Debacle is playing at Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street) until October 10, 2011
– Shows run Friday to Saturday at 8pm (excluding Wednesday), with an additional matinee on Sundays at 2pm
– Ticket are $20, festival passes are $45.
– Tickets are available online, or through the box office at 416-944-1740 x 7