Iceland, playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre as part of the SummerWorks performance festival, takes place on a black box stage with no set save for three chairs. The show is essentially a series of monologues performed by three actors.
Iceland opens with the character Kassandra (Christine Horne), a beautiful, young Estonian university student turned escort. She recounts, in vivid detail, a night when she discovered one of her johns dead after they had a sexual encounter.
We then meet Halim (Kawa Ada), a hot shot real estate agent and unapologetic “capital ‘C’ capitalist.” When he addresses the audience he channels Kevin O’Leary and Gordan Gekko of Wall Street and espouses the “greed is good” mantra to the point where his statements are so staggeringly callous that they’re actually comical.
Finally, we meet Anna (Claire Calnan), an awkward, bookish, sanctimoniously religious, small town girl living in the big city. Anna recounts her sob story of being evicted from her apartment because her landlord decided to sell it.
Throughout the course of the show each character gets fleshed out more and more and the events described in their monologues begin to intersect in interesting ways. Nicolas Billon’s script is alternately clever, funny and perverse.
What I loved about Iceland is that it really is the essence of great theatre. We’re basically watching three actors delivering monologues while seated and tightly lit center stage but I was completely rapt for the hour-long show.
Ravi Jain’s direction is spot-on; the show is stunning in its simplicity. There is very little movement or interaction between the performers. Jain trusts the ability of the actors to fully flesh out these characters with all their flaws and neuroses and to make them compelling and this trust pays off in spades.
The acting is superb. Ada, Calnan and Horne all delivered pitch-perfect performances and each is able to make their character completely engaging.
With its clever script, tight direction and brilliant performances, Iceland is not to be missed. It’s definitely one of my early picks for the 2012 SummerWorks festival and the enthusiastic opening night audience seemed to agree.
- Iceland plays at Venue F: Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Avenue)
- Show times: Fri. August 10, 7:30 PM; Sat. August 11, 2:30 PM; Sun. August 12, 12:00 PM; Thur. August 16, 5:00 PM; Sat. August 18, 10:00 PM, Sun. August 19, 5:00 PM
- All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://ticketwise.ca, By phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the Lower Ossington Box Office (located at 100A Ossington Avenue) Mon. – Sun. 12PM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
- Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows
– Photo of Kawa Ada by Dwyane Fundano