It can be frustrating to be a person who wants to make a positive difference if you live in a society that does not make this easy to achieve. How can you stand out if you live in communities where being different is difficult? What would you being sufficiently desperate be willing to do to make that sort of difference? RAGE AGAINST The Complacent, a show put on by The Four-Penny Operation Foundation currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Robert Gill Theatre, uses the world of social media to provocatively frame this dilemma in a compelling drama hour of drama.
RAGE AGAINST The Complacent begins with five people united in confessing their past. Former Journalism students at York University hoping for brilliant careers post graduation, but found nothing. The only one who came close died in a freak accident who left nothing behind but brief obituaries. When they were invited by an acquaintance three years behind them to join her successful local Buzzfeed-style news site, they had no option but to say yes. The story of how they were desperate to make some sort of a difference, to make real their dreams of achievement, leads to a stunning conclusion.
Playwright Daniel Bagg has created a strong play in RAGE AGAINST The Complacent. He has constructed here a compelling story, where his protagonists are united in their desire to achieve something transformative out of their determinedly quiet work environment and are equally united in progressing towards a conclusion that however unexpected makes perfect sense.
The cast — Ashlyn Kusch, Chanakya Mukherjee, Sara Shanazarian, Sarah Marchand, and Micah Woods — all do an excellent job communicating this story, each at once conveying a different personality of their own (and, occasionally, taking on the personality of another) while sharing the same predicaments and experiences, down even to the level of finishing each other’s sentences.
Movement coordinator Margaret Rose deserves special praise organizing this show’s complex choreography; the highly stylized movements of the cast across the stage, into and out of each other’s arms and against imaginary fences and up elevators, amplifies this story’s power.
RAGE AGAINST The Complacent is a play that made me think deeply about the complex motivations that drive human beings to try to achieve. The questions that it answers, and the questions that it raises, definitely deserve an audience.
- RAGE AGAINST The Complacent is playing until July 15 at the Robert Gill Theatre. (3rd floor, 214 College Street)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
- July 5th at 7:45 pm
- July 7th at 5:45 pm
- July 8th at 8:45 pm
- July 9th at 3:00 pm
- July 10th at 10:15 pm
- July 12th at 1:45 pm
- July 14th at 7:00 pm
Image provided by company.