Repetitive Strain Injury, a story about a young couple before their wedding, is playing at Factory Theatre
Repetitive Strain Injury, the story of a young couple on the verge of marriage, is the first production of Company Kid Logic. Toronto’s Factory Theatre Studio hosts the coming-out party for this uber-talented company. For over 40 years, Factory has been “Home of the Canadian playwright” and a breeding ground for great, young Canadian talent. Repetitive Strain Injury certainly follows in that tradition.
Written by Rob van Meenen, the play impressively arose from a blank slate during a 24-hour playwriting contest. It doesn’t touch on the human condition as much as it embraces it. Repetitive Strain Injury is a coming of age piece that almost any adult can relate to, regardless of age.
That being said, I think people in the same demographic as the actors and characters will enjoy this play much more than a more mature audience. I’m a generation removed from millennials, so it was a bit of a challenge for me dealing with the attitudes of some of the characters. On the contrary, my theatre buddy for the evening, Stan, was probably the oldest in the theatre and found all the characters quite interesting and appealing.
I found the soon to be wed Julie particularly annoying. That’s a tip of the hat to Amy Matysio, who faithfully brought Julie to life. Matysio’s Julie reminded me a bit of the character Claire Dunphy on Modern Family. Julie is the kind of person I go out of my way to avoid in real life. That Matysio was able to make me feel that same way about a fictional character in around 2 hours is quite a feat.
Julie’s future husband, Dave (Pat Kiely), is more of a character I can relate to. He seems sorta stuck in a relationship, on the treadmill of life and going through the motions. He’s almost a spectator and could wear a t-shirt with “whatev” emblazoned on it convincingly.
Dave has a friend, Guy (Robin Dunne), that Stan described as a “dirtbag”. If you were lucky enough to see the play Iceland recently, Guy might remind you of the character Halim. He’s Machiavellian, shameless and successful at getting what he wants. If you were to call him a womanizing, cold-hearted snake, he might say “whatev”. In other words, he’s a guy’s guy. Dunne does a great job of making what could be a one-dimensional character come to life.
Rounding out the cast are two female characters, Pia (Imali Perera) and Candace (Ava Markus). Pia is soulful, wise, and in my opinion, a stereotype. Personally, I’m kind of bored with a tired cliché in the art world where non-white characters are portrayed as better beings on spiritual, emotional and intellectual levels. Stereotypes can be dealt with effectively and thoughtfully, and even with a sense of humour. For an example, check out an Asiansploitation show.
I suspect I am being too critical of Repetitive Strain Injury. It really is a very talented cast with a great future ahead. If I were to describe the talent in sports terms, seeing this play would be like seeing Nazem Kadri playing with The Marlies before he finally got called up to The Leafs.
While this play wasn’t a favourite of mine, Stan quite enjoyed it. The audience quite enjoyed it. If you are in your 20s or 30s, you’ll probably quite enjoy it too. For me, Repetitive Strain Injury made me feel like another Modern Family character, Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O’Neill. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad night out for an old curmudgeon like me.
- Repetitive Strain Injury is playing at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St) until Sunday, December 15, 2013
- Shows run Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm
- Tickets range from PWYC to $25
- Tickets can be purchased in person, online or by calling 416 504 9971
Photo of the cast of Repetitive Strain Injury by Farrah Aviva