If you want to simply attend the theatre and switch your brain onto autopilot, I suggest you find a different venue. But if you have been waiting for theatre that challenges the status quo, then you have arrived! Bound to Create Theatre has brought dirty butterfly to this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival.
This is an intense production that addresses destructive social issues at a rapid-fire pace. In only five minutes, you can recognize the pressures of domestic violence, racial divides, economic oppression, gender inequality, and an ever shifting power dynamic.
You may have heard that “misery loves company.” Well, that is certainly the case here. All three characters are united in their struggle, as they attempt to deal with their situations. Each person is both a bully of others and a victim of their own circumstances.
If you are trying to picture this, imagine a vortex. The characters get sucked in and pulled together by the speed and intensity of their surroundings. They clamor over each other to escape, but are ultimately pulled back because they cannot break apart from the others. This makes their actions futile, in this cyclic world of oppression.
I thought the set design enhanced the focus of the script. During the first half of the production, the physical divide between these characters were represented by lines of sand on the floor. The text focused on the relationship struggles, which the environment represented. When lives and ideas became entangled, these visual barriers were destroyed.
During the second half of the play, appearance became the most important element. Spotlessly clean floors were destroyed just by the mere presence of others. It was actually amusing to watch Amelia’s futile attempts to clean as Jo literally spilled her guts out. The restaurant evolved into utter chaos as these halfhearted attempts inevitably failed.
dirty butterfly features a strong cast that has thrown themselves into this challenging script. The text requires them to be constantly aware of both their partners and pacing while they drive the text forward through half-sentences and frequent dialogue interruptions. They have met this challenge head-on.
Due to the quick pacing of the script, there were some moments when a character’s idea shifted without a visual sign from the actor. At those times, their intentions and ideas might have been more comprehensible if it was always recognizable as a responsive action or impulse. That would simply require some fine tuning by this company.
dirty butterfly offers Fringe audiences the chance to become immersed in a world of conflict. You will want to buy these cheap seats, before it moves to professional pricing.
It’s time for society to open its closets, and release the dirty butterflies.
- dirty butterfly plays at Venue 11 (Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace) 16 Ryerson Avenue
- Showtimes are: July 06, Friday, 08:15 PM; July 08, Sunday, 1 PM; July 09, Monday, 2:15 PM; July 10, Tuesday, 6:45 PM; July 11, Wednesday, 4:45 PM, July 13, Friday, 1:45 PM; July 14, Saturday, 9:45 PM, July 15, Sunday, 12:30 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