Do not let this title fool you! If you initially have the image of snug bugs hiding in rugs dancing in your head, wipe it out of your mind! Snug Harbor is the story of a harsh reality that sends many to an eternal slumber long before their time.
Tracy Erin Smith (of Burning Bush Productions) has come to the Toronto Fringe Festival to share her personal story, and help audiences become aware of the signs of suicide. In a theatrical public speaking manner, Tracy recounts the events that led to her father’s suicide, and the details that surrounded it.
There are a few comical scenes found throughout the script to offer comedic relief. Rather than creating a character that is completely lost in the grieving state, the playwright has allowed honest human responses to appear throughout. Although her initial responses to the situation may not have been accessible in a conservative environment, it did allow the audience to understand the thought process variations more thoroughly.
The play is primarily arranged to allow the audience to witness the grieving process. This is described as being similar to the adventures of any storybook hero who evolves through a quest. A large projection screen keeps a running tally of the grieving period stage that you have reached. This projection show was not used to further the story during the production, but it did keep viewers on track.
I thought that describing the stages of a quest was an interesting way to translate the suicide grieving experience. It allowed the content to reach audience members who may not have direct experience with this topic, thereby making the information accessible to a larger population.
Ultimately, this is a theatre education production that uses the forum for drama therapy. The performer would move from directly speaking to the audience, to reenacting the private moments and conversations for the audience.
In numerous instances, I thought that this jagged method of storytelling made the emotional sequences appear contrived. To move from a completely calm public speaking state to a character’s emotionally driven exchanges established a strong juxtaposition between the two, which I sometimes found jarring.
Certain reenacted sequences did seem completely honest and were therefore engaging to watch. The audience was most intent during the father-daughter camping scene. The performer joylessly recalled her carefree marijuana induced nudist adventure with absolute delight. The audience was thereby able to laugh and relax because she was effortlessly taking us on an honest journey of reflection.
After the play, Tracy arranges a sharing session after the show. Individuals who want to discuss the production, share their personal experiences regarding suicide, or learn more about the signs and preventative measures of suicide are encouraged to stay and explore this topic as a group.
Snug Harbor has been designed to both entertain the audience and help people realize that they are never truly alone in their grief. Tracy Erin Smith says, “If you are watching this and you have a glimpse of the fact that you are loved, you will be missed, and the decisions you make will impact others.”
- Snug Harbor plays at Venue 13, The Centre, 316 Dupont St.
- Showtimes are: July 04, Wednesday, 7:30 PM; July 05, Thursday, 7:30 PM; July 06, Friday, 7:30 PM; July 07, Saturday, 7:30 PM; July 08, Sunday, 3 PM; July 10, Tuesday, 7:30 PM; July 12, Thursday, 9:30 PM; July 13, Friday, 7:30 PM; July 14 Saturday, 7:30 PM; July 15, Sunday, 3 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are also 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 (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows