It’s the silences, the unarticulated and the unspoken, and the what-ifs and could-be’s that move Tides & Tales’ What I Haven’t Said at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Featuring four actors (Karres Vroom, Chris Bautista, Matthew Krist, and Alina Kouvchinova), the play invites us into the psyche of a woman named Alice, in the form of a storage room that houses all of her thoughts, emotions, and memories, hoarding all the things she has not said.
The play opens in darkness. There’s a single light emitting from a light device held in Alice’s (Alina Kouchinova) hands. There is no else on stage, so Alice addresses the audience and welcomes us into her subconscious.
Alice may be addressing no one in particular, but these moments where the fourth wall breaks made What I Haven’t Said even more captivating as a show. It’s the sort of audience participation that doesn’t demand too much, but nevertheless holds and keeps your attention throughout.
There is a moment, for example, when Alice asks the audience to give her two examples of problems in relationships. Her request prompts a brief silence. She eggs us on. A dim light shines on the audience, signalling for our own participation. Someone yells, “Control.” Another yells, “Gas.”
With that, two of the other actors come on stage (Vroom and Austin) and reenact a couple facing the problems of “control” and “gas” (and to an extent, “controlling gas”) in their relationship. This sequence was so seamless that it felt almost planned, not improvised — a testimony perhaps to each performer’s astute capabilities.
Such prowess remained consistent throughout as each actor was able to embody different characters and moments that Alice’s psyche demanded of them. They give us a boy with a bedwetting problem, a couple about to breakup, a paranoid and overprotective mother, unfiltered best friends, a horse, a lover.
In the beginning of the play, as Alice invites us all into the disgruntled parts of her psyche, she tells us that now we have fallen victim to a diarrhea of words. What she may call ‘word diarrhea,’ however, is transformed into something more poignant, more poetic, more expressive. In this collaboratively written play, the language builds up and moves. It is touching, playful, and in moments, incredibly intimate.
By the end, What I Haven’t Said has said all the things, and so much more.
- What I Haven’t Said plays at Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79A Saint George St)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1026), from the Fringe Club at Scaddling Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warnings: Mature language and is not recommended for persons under 14 years of ago
- This venue is not accessible.
- Friday 7th July, 03:00pm
- Saturday 8th July, 07:00pm
- Sunday 9th July, 08:30pm
- Monday 10th July, 02:45pm
- Wednesday 12th July, 10:30pm
- Friday 14th July, 05:45pm
- Saturday 15th July, 12:00pm
Photo of Alina Kouvchinova by Mich Chiu