Kitt & Jane: A Guide to the Future (SNAFU Dance Theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Kitt and Jane performers, (L-R) Rod Peter Jr and Ingrid Hansen. Photo by Jam Hamidi.

The SNAFU Dance Theatre‘s Toronto Fringe Festival show Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future is a theatrical mashup of two very different kinds of plays. Some dramas take a serious look at the environmental problems we face in our world now and the challenges we might have to overcome. Other dramas take differently but equally serious looks at the struggles of adolescence. It’s the genius of this show and its performers that it easily combines these two very different kinds of theatre into one zany, oddly serious, and very compelling show.

Kitt Peterson (Ingrid Hansen) and Lucas–actually “Jane”–Jameson (Rod Peter Jr.) are two Grade 9 students who hijack a school assembly for “1st International Wildlife Diversity Appreciation Day”. The System that has led the world to ruin is coming down, they warn, and they themselves are doomed. Kitt and Jane will show their audience how to prepare in the time that they have left, to get ready not for the world’s end but for its transformation.

Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future is a play anchored by the relationship between the two protagonists. Aside from a brief introduction by director and co-creator Kathleen Gallagher as a cloyingly enthusiastic teacher, Hansen and Peter are the only people who actually appear on the stage. They easily carry their role, as individual characters and as long-time childhood friends. Each actor does an excellent job inhabiting a different type of adolescent, Hansen’s Kitt precocious and carelessly energetic, Peter’s Jane passive and carefully withdrawn. The unlikely friendship of the two social outcasts feels like a believable pairing. Even the two actors’ bodies are those of gangly, awkward adolescents. Kitt and Jane are real people.

These two characters belong to a creative and dynamic story. Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future fuses together two very different kinds of urgent scenarios. Kitt and Jane each have their own very rule concerns, for their fates as individuals and for the future of the world they both fear for. All of this is fused together in the sort of muddle that I, at least, could easily remember from my adolescence and can better understand now. It is superb drama.

Technically, the show is top-notch. The two actors and director make good use of a well-designed and inventively stocked stage. I would also like to call particular attention to the lighting, used for everything from the blue waters of an empty salmon stream to backlighting the pair’s stencilled plans for making local Mayfair Mall an impenetrable fortress. The show’s visuals were superb.

For an unconventional but fantastic theatrical experience about the personal and the political, Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future. See it while it’s still playing in Toronto.

Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future plays the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George Street, off the pedestrian walkway.)

Show times
July 02 at 10:00 PM
July 04 at 03:00 PM
July 06 at 05:00 PM
July 07 at 01:00 PM
July 08 at 08:15 PM
July 10 at 02:00 PM
July 11 at 07:00 PM

Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.

LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

This play features limited audience participation.

Photo of Rod Peter Jr and Ingrid Hansen by Jam Hamidi

One thought on “Kitt & Jane: A Guide to the Future (SNAFU Dance Theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Won tickets to the July 10 show. While I found Kitt a little grating, the staging with lights, curtains and screens was impressive and I was charmed by Lucas/Jane.

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