Verisimilitude (Cawthra Park Secondary School) SummerWorks Review 2017

Verisimilitude is a grim, dystopian drama written and directed by Kat Schmael. It’s being put on at SummerWorks 2017 by Cawthra Secondary School atthe Pia Bouman – Scotiabank Studio Theatre (6 Noble Street) with just one more performance on August 13th.

Until the morning of, I didn’t realize that this was a high school production. Not that I wouldn’t see student theatre on my own time, but I’ve always felt uncomfortable at the prospect of reviewing it. However, I’m really glad to say that this production totally surpassed my expectations.

In Verisimilitude, Unit 4356 (Chester Ashby) and 4357 (Kevin Tseng) live in near isolation, with only one another to speak to through the walls. They can’t conceive of existence outside of the institution in which they live, until 4357 has a dream.

What unfolds is fairly typical dystopian fiction, but it was written quite well and never felt long-in-the-tooth. The characters meander through the content of 4357’s dream, and try to pick apart what it means. I was impressed by the young actors in this show. Ashby and Tseng played well off each other, and they had a certain chemistry that was present even though their characters never look at each other. Ashby was stern and abrasive, whereas Tseng was sensitive and soft-spoken.

Verisimilitude’s script is really just dialogue between these two characters that never come face to face, and I was really pleased by how well the actors carried it. Schmael’s direction kept them moving through their tiny spaces and really helped the dialogue to move along.

Overall, Verisimilitude was the most impressive student production I’ve seen in a very long time and an enjoyable show in its own right. I’d recommend catching their second and last show if you get the chance.

Details:

  • Verisimilitude plays at the Pia Bouman – Scotiabank Studio Theatre (6 Noble Street).
  • Remaining performances:
    • Sunday August 13th 2:15pm – 3:15pm
  • SummerWorks tickets are now Pay What You Decide at $15, $25, or $35, whichever suits your budget. All tickets are general admission and there are no limits to any price level. Tickets are available at the performance venue (cash only), online and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 1-13 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted.
  • Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 7 shows.

Audience Advisory: Be advised that this show contains flashing lights and mature themes.

Image by Ethan Eng.