Although I consider myself a playwright, performer, and theatre-goer, I very rarely go out to see a play. Going to the theatre is like working on my novel. It’s important for me to do, but I often make excuses (really valid ones, I swear) to not put in the time.
“I should go see a show tonight, but I still have three seasons of The Sopranos to get through.”
“I should really work on my novel, but my cat Loki is clearly in need of a three hour cuddle.”
“I should work on my novel ALL day and then go see a show tonight, but I’m writing an original musical about death right now and I need to record a song idea.” <– Ah ha! That one is valid. Fooled you.
Just like I need to put in a day’s work on my novel at the risk of having to re-write and re-work every single word two weeks later, I also need to risk seeing shows that I may not like. I don’t take that risk often enough. You see, like many people, I have a fear of bad theatre. The lights dim and an actor comes out to begin his monologue in a slightly British (yet not quite British) accent that tremors and vibrates when he says something we are supposed to feel is important. The problem is that that “supposed to feel” feeling doesn’t feel good.
I WANT TO REALLY FEEL, DAMN IT! Happiness, tension, fear, excitement, hope. The feeling just needs to … well… feel authentic. I’m looking for, ya know, catharsis (which a fantastic word to say if you have a lisp.)
So, this is where I finally talk about John and Beatrice. (yay!)
A bounty hunter named John answers an ad on a poster promising a “substantial reward for any man who can interest, move, and seduce” a bored heiress. He arrives at her door after climbing up 33 flights of stairs, and immediately works away at her challenges. He’s motivated by money and she by her loneliness.
For those of you who want the short short version:
I was interested as soon as I walked into the space.
A few fantastic monologues moved me.
I was seduced by the concept.
For those in for the long version (which isn’t that long):
John and Beatrice was good. I liked it. A minimalist set brilliantly contrasts a script rich with imagery and ideas. The acting was layered; I wanted to watch their movements – right down to the hypnotic touch of Beatrice’s hand along John’s arm in one very beautifully delivered monologue. The music added to the tone of a scene, but didn’t have to do all the work for moments to be meaningful. The lighting was spot on (excuse the pun), and helped tremendously with mood changes and scene transitions.
Though a 90 minute run time without intermission felt a little long (I’m used to 5 minute webisodes now, in fairness), I wanted to know where the story would take me and so I crossed my legs and continued to be enthralled.
Go and see John and Beatrice.
John and Beatrice is playing at Theatre Passe Murailles Backspace until this Saturday. If you’re in Toronto for the long weekend, check it out!
The show left me with one very important question:
“What is love? (Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more.” )
note 1: That song was NOT used in the play, however, it IS stuck in my head.
note 2: Actually a mash up of What is Love and 2 Become 1 is now in my head… it’s interesting, to say the least.