Terminus (Outside the March) 2012 SummerWorks Review

There are a number of reasons why Outside the March’s SummerWorks production of Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus makes me want to start this review with some infatuated ooze like, oh boy, I love this one!

I want to gush about this new play-crush, but Terminus is too smart to be wrapped up with inflated exclamations, so I should attempt to keep this theatre talk deep.

I also feel a real desire to rhyme, keeping in time with the three lyrical monologues Terminus blends together – all written in rhyme, and even better, peppered with the “mature” arrangement of letters.

Terminus is a terminal for the whimsical and the vulgar, the magic and the real, the “good” and the “bad,” and the rhyme/swear dynamic is just one of many ways this play explores the crossroads.

So, the crush-dirty gush-worthy reasons why I love this play:

The writing. I can’t really applaud Outside the March for this (other than choosing to put it on!), but damn is this a good piece of literature. Three monologues about gritty life in the shadows of Dublin begin to overlap while elements of fantasy and magic realism forward the narrative as much as the quirks and dramatics of these expertly crafted characters. This is storytelling at its finest.

The actors. Maev Beaty, Ava Jane Markus, and Adam Wilson each gave performances that were not only seamless but captivating, interesting, quirky, dynamic. In a story of crossroads the characters themselves were the meeting places of various seemingly unequivocal qualities, and this is what made them feel so real, so human.

Any actor who can make rhyming lyrical ballad sound like their character’s natural speech is doing something very right.

The symbolism. Ah, this is where my Literature major bias comes in and makes me really love this piece. First of all, with a subject matter of self-realization and a setting in Dublin, I couldn’t help being reminded of James Joyce’s Dubliners, a series of short stories where somewhat-underbellied middle class citizens of Dublin reach their own little epiphanies. I love intertextuality (even if it’s not intended).

We can also take the word terminus, a latin word used to describe the end of a road, and look at it’s modern use: terminal, both an ending place and a transitional space, a threshold, a meeting place for disparate paths, and a word for death. The play explores all implications of this word, itself becoming a terminal for the meeting of all these meanings.

The lighting. I know complimenting the lighting is often seen as a bit of a theatre-review cop-out but Nick Blais’ work really contributed, working with the simple and purposeful set design to lend the play yet another layer of symbolic significance.

In case I didn’t gush enough, I loved this play. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s serious, and it’s well done.

  • Terminus plays at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St.)
  • Show times: Sat. August 11, 2:30 PM, Thurs. August 16, 7:30 PM, Sun. August 12, 10:00 PM, Sat. August 18, 10:00 PM, Wed. August 15, 5:00 PM, Sun. August 19, 2:30 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