Golem by Sick With Baby at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival is a piece about identity, guilt, and intention. The story centre’s on a shadowy incident in Casey Coen’s (Brandon Nicoletti) life and how it relates to two others: his friend Ali Khan (Sohail Chatur) and a rival, Solomon Asner (Adam Borohov).
Casey tells his story about the incident in a non-sequential fashion. Information has to be teased out of him by Ali and Solomon. Both are projects of his self-conscious so he often returns to certain parts of the story, certain excuses, certain paths of reasoning as the play explores the way we justify our actions.
I found Nicoletti’s performance to be good, his progression from swaggering apathy towards the event to eventual catharsis was exciting to watch. I found that the progression moved a little slowly at first as most of the first 2/3 didn’t seem to reach Casey, but the eventual emotional pay-off was worth it.
Adam Borohov’s performance as Soloman Asner was likewise effective. Borohov’s whining, taunting and badgering of Casey provided the piece with some of it’s angsty charm, and the back and forth between the two men was the root of most of the progression.
Sohail Chatur’s Ali was a good counter balance to the other two. His quiet amicability played counterweight to Borohov’s obnoxiousness and Nicoletti’s callousness. He also has quite an affecting monologue that further fleshes out his character and makes him the most likeable of the three.
I found that a lot of good work was being done by the three performers but that the script had problems with pacing. The middle third of the play felt like it was going in circles a lot of the time. These circles are part of what the play is attempting to express, but it didn’t always make for the most engaging theatre.
From a staging perspective the first 30 seconds were some of the most interesting I’ve seen so far at the Fringe. After that there isn’t a lot of movement on stage, none of the characters ever strayed far from their starting points. This could again be a deliberate choice but I didn’t find it the most interesting one.
The play touches on deeper questions of intention vs. action, Jewish cultural identity, and even strays briefly into Muslim identity, the Israel/Palestine debate, and homosexuality. Interesting perspectives are brought forth but I found that a little fine tuning was required to focus the good ideas presented.
I found Golem to be generally good but not great. If you are interested in explorations of identity, morality and intention I would encourage you to see it. Also fans of on-stage destruction of set pieces will enjoy the piece.
- Golem plays at Venue 1 Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave)
- Show times are: July 07 12:00 PM, July 09 4:30 PM, July 11 9:15, July 12 4:00 PM, July 13 11:00 PM, July 15 1:45 PM
- Advance tickets ($11 including service charge) are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 , or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street.
- Value packs are available for anyone planning to see at least 5 shows.