What is your definition of love and happiness? How do we expect love to be, and how are these expectations enhanced or shattered when we arrive at our destination? How do we look at the relationships of others, and how much do we care how they look at ours? These are the questions brilliantly posed and thoroughly explored by Three Five Production’s Perceptions of Love in the Pursuit of Happiness, playing now as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Right when Andrea Brown and Tim Cadney began the first scene, I knew I was in for an evening of captivation. What at first appeared as a pleasant dinner quickly collapsed into unresolved hurt with the flash of a memory, and challenged my initial perceptions of a relationship for the first of many times tonight.
Among the actors, it is impossible to pick a stand out. Katherine Fogler is fiery and witty as a pregnant woman itching to get everything out of life. Shelly Antony charms as her husband, pleading with her to find happiness based in practicality and simplicity. Genevieve Degraves plays a refreshingly intelligent and bold young woman anxious to get her hands on all aspects of love. She’s seeing an older relationship counselor, made human by Joel Fishbane, who’s looking to finally have the good parts of relationship minus any complications. Finally, Cadney gracefully plays a husband struggling to fix the mistakes in his marriage while his wife, gorgeously portrayed by Brown, fights doubts in favour of desire to get back to where they once were.
Every scene soared with fast-paced and insightful text from Chantal Forde’s witty and well-crafted script, darting with ease from masterfully timed one-liners to moments of heartbreak and confusion. A personal favourite was a sequence of all three couples in confrontations of one sort or another that ended with applause from the whole theatre.
It was refreshing also to see a show about love that took time to explore relationships outside of the romantic ones. Among others, Degraves and Brown shared a lovely scene in which Brown tried to pass down relationship knowledge to a reluctant Degraves, and Fishbane and Fogler delved into a scene between a wife and relationship therapist that left the audience in awed silence.
When it did come down to the romantic relationships, they were wonderfully complex, messy, and always heartfelt. The energy and stakes were high as the characters sorted through what love meant to them, what happiness meant to them, and how they might begin to reconcile the two together.
Perceptions of Love in the Pursuit of Happiness is poignant and hilarious, heart breaking and heart warming. Relationships are explored that challenge our conventional perceptions of what love and happiness might be, and I was honoured to take that journey along side these characters, these actors and this play.
- Perceptions of Love in the Pursuit of Happiness is playing until July 11at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. 125 Bathurst Street)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
July 03 at 03:00 PM
July 05 at 04:45 PM
July 06 at 02:45 PM
July 07 at 10:30 PM
July 09 at 05:15 PM
July 11 at 07:30 PM
Photo of Joel Fishbane, Genevieve Degraves, Tim Cadeny, Andrea Brown Shelly Antony, and Katherie Fogler, taken by Tim Cadeny.