SOULO (SoulOTheatre), directed by Tracey Erin Smith, is playing at Robert Gill (214 College Street, 3rd Floor) at the Toronto Fringe Festival. SOULO features the stories of three queer identified performers: Terrance Bryant, Marco Bernardi and DJ Edwards. Mistress of ceremonies, Mckenzi Scott, clad in Moulin Rouge attire, introduces us to the traveling soul circus where our transformation begins.
We follow the metamorphosis of Terrance Bryant, a.k.a. Terry the Faerie, who begins as a five-year-old dress-up enthusiast, continues as a straight-acting high school prince and peaks as a disco debutant. Terrance introduces us to his family members, each of whom he characterizes in a slideshow of Christmas 1989.
Marco Bernardi invites us into his bachelor apartment where he tells us about his homophobic, would-have-been stepfather, coming out to his Italian mother who implores him to consider Anne Heche’s about-face before committing to homosexuality, and his frustration with an inept teen hotline operator.
DJ Edwards enters as Vicky Licks, an ostentatious drag queen, a self-professed Carol Burnett on meth, with a penchant for teen actor Devon Sawa. We watch Vicky transform into Jack Hallow, DJ’s pick-up alter ego, before they both settle into DJ himself.
The three storytellers step out on the proverbial high wire to talk about their fears, their identity and their coming-out experience. None of them really venture far beyond the safety zone. Time restrictions serve as the safety net for each performer.
Moments that moved me that could use more time and exploration include Terrance’s description of the loss of an entire generation of his friends to AIDS, the motivation behind Marco’s decision to become a community worker and the dark corner of DJ’s closet where the poison resides.
SOULO is a show that every junior high and high school student should see. It is always inspirational to hear stories of survival. When these tales are told by such likeable and hilarious individuals, we really believe that it does get better.
- SOULO is playing at Robert Gill (214 College Street, 3rd Floor)
- Showtimes: Mon July 09 02:30 PM, Tues July 10 06:45 PM , Wed July 11 04:00 PM, Thurs July 12 02:45 PM, Sat July 14 07:00 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
Photo by Shy Alter of Terrance Bryant, DJ Edwards and Marco Bernardi