I have been reviewing theatre for over a year now. This is the first show I have seen where I don’t want to write a review. I just want to say, go and experience it, as I feel anything I write will take away from the true — almost philosophical — experience of Daughter.
That being said, the show I thought I was walking into was not the show I watched. From the description on the Daughter page, I was expecting anecdotes and scenes about fatherhood, some cute and funny, and some a tad on the dark side.
Some were cute and funny, such as when Lazarus acted out the dance routine he and his daughter often performed together. The butterfly wings were a great touch. While less cute (but still hilarious), the story of his daughter’s birth was as honest as the panic in his eyes when the complications hit.
After these openers, Lazarus gets into his life before his marriage and subsequent children. He also has a son who is “simple” to care for. He speaks about being a young child and his experiments with bodily fluids. He then relates a story about a prank he and his friends played on one of the less popular members of their high school group.
What followed were stories of the times in his twenties and thirties where booze, drugs, hookers, STIs, porn, and a trip to Japan shaped him into the human being he became before the arrival of his daughter, and with her, his fatherhood. I felt the childhood stories set these up perfectly, as they were the baby steps before he — and us in the audience with him — ran off the cliff into the muddled, grey sea of human experience.
Lazarus didn’t mince words. The language was as real and profane as the experiences he spoke about. It offended someone so much they walked out of the show! However, I didn’t feel this was a negative, as this show presumably made that person feel so much they couldn’t experience any more.
I felt many things watching Lazarus. I was queasy when he told the story about him and his friends watching the questionable Japanese porn he brought back from his trip. I was shocked when he told us about his extramarital affairs. I was happy when his daughter was born after his wife had to endure hours of painful labour.
I think these feelings are why I want people to go and see Daughter as blind as I was before the show. I know they will feel many things and I want those feelings to be as true as they can be without any outside influences.
Besides the gamut of feelings and emotions — which what having a daughter seems to elicit — I ultimately feel this show is about the complicated nature of human actions and the dissonance created when we try to narrowly define human beings. The Adam Lazarus of Daughter was a funny father and I liked him. He was also an adulterous chauvinist and I didn’t like him.
Ultimately, the Adam Lazarus of Daughter was honest, and beyond the “right” or “wrong” things he did before he became a father, they all helped inform him of a world he now must help his daughter navigate. Who better to do that than a real human being with wide, real knowledge about many things both delightful and depraved?
- Thursday August 4th, 10:00pm – 11:15pm
- Saturday August 6th, 5:15 – 6:30pm
- Sunday August 7th, 10:15pm – 11:30pm
- Monday August 8th, 9:00pm – 10:15pm
- Friday August 12th, 10:30pm – 11:45pm
- Saturday August 13th, 10:30pm – 11:45pm
- Sunday August 14th, 6:45pm – 8:00pm
Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Youth Series tickets are $10, Live Art Series ticket prices vary. Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, by phone at 416-320-5779 and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 2-14 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted.
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.
Note: Mature themes, language, and content.
Photo provided by the company.