What a day! What a…okay, most of it wasn’t that interesting. I did laundry, tho, three whole loads! Which is important, because I’m embarking on my first volunteer shift at the GCTC this weekend, and have to look all sharp and shit. Come on out to BLACKBIRD this Saturday nite, you rabble, and watch me strut my stuff tearin’ your tickets like they was parking tickets you were serving me, only I wasn’t havin’ none of that! As IF that’s a no-parking zone on Thursday between five and seven! Since when?? Here’s what I think of that! Rippity-BAM!
Clean clothes aside, I had a few other errands to run before the evening’s festivities. Stopped by the already mentioned Great Canadian Theatre company to get a ticket for THE LIST this Friday, as I’m a moron and missed the free Dress Rehearsal on Sunday. Then downtown, where I picked up another ticket, this one for GRIEVOUS ANGEL at the NAC 4th stage on the 25th. Busy time, and I’m loving it (as much as someone like me is capable of that human emotion, naturally). Puttered a bit, bought some cheap dvd’s (NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD and the promising-sounding AMAZONS VS.SUPERMEN), had a tasty veg burrito at AHORA, some beers at the Dominion and a few more pages out of the biography of Jack Parsons I’m digging into, before the hour started getting short. I made the familiar trek to Arts Court for tonite’s opening night show of SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE. And who did I end up riding the elevator up with but director Pat Gauthier hisself! Surely a good omen, non?
It was a somewhat sparser crowd than you’d hope for on opening night…but then, THE LIST and BLACKBIRD were opening the same night, so crowds may be cut a little thin. Shit, maybe that Denis Armstrong was on to something when he complained about the crowded opening week going on..!
…naahhh. Fuck that whiny cunt AND his terrible hair. Thin crowd or no, we managed a bit of a gaggle in there when the lights went down (some local supahstarz included…I spotted Tania Levy, Al Connors and Kris Joseph my own self), with myself front row center. Why not, no one ELSE was sitting there. I figured to be in for a treat of a show…and hey, Iwas right! That’s nice, sometimes.
The story, by one…GATD Caplan? Is that right? Is that a person, or…or, like, an investment firm? And what does it have to do with real estate rep Barry Caplan, whose ad is on the back of the program? This is some theatre in-joke I don’t know about, isn’t it? Either that, or someone is gonna have to explain to me how to pronounce GATD. Damn. (apologies to the writer, but sorry, friend, your name just reads weird…worse things have happened)
Where was I? Right… the story, by my good friend GATD, tells the tale of Steven, a well intentioned Jewish Canadian lad who is, to put it mildly, unlucky in love. Perenially stuck in what Chris Rock identifies as ‘the Friend Zone’, he’s been hung up on the same so close/far away galpal, Beth, since childhood. Now, nearing 40, he’s no closer to her OR a real relationship than he was dancing to Hebrew-ized top 40 hits at B’nai Brith camp all those years ago. Over the course of the play Steven’s self-assured inner self (who never gets let out to play) tells us the sad story of Steven’s life, and all the women who have (almost) made themselves part of it.
Really, it’s something that could easily go almost apocalypitically wrong. The kind of ‘poor me’ guy play that I myself have considered writing on occasion, because Geoff McBride as Steven was basically telling the story of my life (minus the Judaism and all), but talked myself out of because it felt too self indulgent. But that shows what the fuck I know about theatre.
The Gauthier gang work some sweet magic with the script, starting right out with the fantastic use of video in the proceedings. The play opens up literally like a movie, introducing what I never realized was missing from stage productions…opening credits. McBride, mentioned already as our hapless lead Steven, is every bit the Woody-Allene-esque hero he’s supposed to be (except, unlike Woddy’s movie characters,Steven doesn’t always get the girl), and is wonderfully brave in the role. Jordan Hancey (from 3rd Wall’s production of AS YOU LIKE IT last year) makes for a solid and likeable anchor as the narrator of the piece, trying to help us all make sense of the uniquely modern paradox that guys like Steven really are. And the ladies..!
Well, sorry boys, but the ladies really do steal this show. Sarah Finn (last seen getting Ottawa Fringers into packed houses in SHADOWS) absolutely captivates in her multiple roles, but mainly as the hauntingly recurring Beth, always flitting tantalizingly in and out of Steven’s life just when he needs her most, or least, depending on your point of view. And Catriona Leger, who between this and AIRPORT SECURITY earlier this year, is rapidly becming my favourite comedic actress EVER…
…well, there’s no way to describe her chameleonic performances in this show. She’s like a cute, funny Gary Oldman/Charlie Chaplin hybrid on some particularly wicked uppers. Appearing as anything from a sexual diagnostician, drunken coed, Steven’s Mom AND his Rabbi…man, and I used to think she was just the chick at the beer tent at Fringe! Pardon me, the Goddess of the Beer Tent (I saw on Twitter she liked when I said that last time..!)
But as I hopefully got across, the whole gang was stellar here. The stagework was smartly done, especially considering the many rapid-fire role-changes the gals had to go through. And the heart of the story, Steven’s arm’s length love and longing, certainly wasn’t lost on me. But then, as an emotionally-challenged ‘nice guy’ myself, I’m an easy convert. I sure hope that the word gets out on this pretty awesome piece of theatre, and we get some denizens out to Arts Court to pack them seats! Here’s me trying to do that. I loved the presentation, the performances, and the play. I know there’s lots to see right now, but don’t be a Denis Armstrong and complain…see lots of theatre (including this one), and be happy about it. Now doesn’t that sound good..? Have a good night, and see you fiends, at THE LIST,