The Mermaid Collective’s play Dive is a visceral experience at Toronto’s Array Space
Dive, presented by The Mermaid Collective and playing at The Array Space, lives up to its billing as “a visceral experience” in telling the story of two men conflicted by love and loss and how one man’s encounter with an enchanting mermaid in his youth shaped the rest of his life.
In 1938, two Sicilian men have a chance meeting in a quiet bar. One, Paolo (Matthew Gouveia), has just been dumped by his two girlfriends and is at the beginning of his life and career. The other, Rosario (Earl Pastko), a distinguished academic, is in the twilight of both the former and latter. They share conversations over some time of politics and life and as comfort grows their words turn to women and love. This is where things become interesting as secrets are revealed and magic becomes reality.
Throughout the performance, Fides Krucker weaves in and out of the story as various characters with expertise, but she shines as the haunting mermaid that left Rosario so charmed in his youth, he has shunned every other woman in the decades since.
Krucker inhabits the space so well that when she appeared, all of my attention was with her performance. It should also be noted that Krucker’s voice is a character unto itself. When performing as the mermaid, she stands out physically and emotionally, giving the audience an aural gift and leaving us in wait for the next chance to experience her.
Gouveia and Pastko’s back and forth is on point. At first, I felt Pastko’s reserved nature to be a bit too laid back for Gouveia’s more energetic Paolo, but as the story progresses it becomes clear why his Rosario is as Pastko plays him. One scene that particularly stands out involves the physical appearance of sea urchins. The tête-à-tête between the actors is hilarious and I am sure writer Richard Sanger had much fun during his adaptation of conversation.
Gouveia’s comic timing on his own is also great and gives the performance some light in contrast to its darker moments.
Walking into the venue at The Array Space, I immediately felt immersed in the world of Dive. Scott Penner’s set uses the small space effectively and the theatre-in-the-round approach contributes to the success of immersing the audience into the scene. Nik Beeson’s score also helps with this effect, as it perfectly complements both the space and Krucker’s voice.
For all of the 75 minutes of Dive, my attention never wavered. I was fully absorbed by the characters and their story and as I walked through the set on my way out, I felt as though I was walking through the ghosts of the characters that I had just seen standing before me. Before my last step out of theatre, I almost took a look back to see if my mermaid was watching.
- Dive is playing until August 9th at The Array Space (155 Walnut St.)
- Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 2pm
- Tickets are $30, with a $55 Gala performance on Thursday August 6th that includes a cocktail reception, more live performances, and a talk back with the creative team, and they can be purchased online (highly recommended) or with cash at the door
- For August 1st and 2nd performances the company is offering discount tickets for $20 by using the promo code HEATWAVE when purchasing tickets online
Photo of Fides Krucker, Earl Pastko, and Matthew Gouveia by John Lauener