A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Between The Sheets - An Excruciating Play That Satisfied
Sunday, March 16, 2014





It is my feeling that Toronto’s young playwright, Jordi Mand probably has never heard of Horace’s advice from his Ars Poetica where he instructs poets that they should never resort to a "god from the machine" to resolve their plots "unless a difficulty worthy a god's unraveling should happen.” But she did take the advice.

There is no deus ex machine that can possibly save the bleak ending of the Pi Theatre production of Mand’s play, Between the Sheets which my granddaughter Rebecca Stewart (16) and I witnessed in this site specific play inside a real third grader’s classroom  at the Admiral Seymour Elementary School in the Vancouver neighbourhood of Strathcona.

Many of our city’s couch potatoes say we live in a no-fun city. Why venture out when downloading a movie from Netflix is so easy?


Standing left, Caitriona Murphy, centre Stephanie Moroz, right Jordi Mand

Or we could go to see a conventional and safe play at a major Vancouver venue and be properly entertained without the taxing of our emotions or thought processes.

Why would anybody leave the comfort of a roaring fire in the den to pick up one’s granddaughter (not a happy camper at school) to take her to a play on a bleak and gray Sunday afternoon and have her say, “So you bring me to a school on my spring break!”

The fact is that Rebecca Stewart and I did all the above and found Between the Sheets so excruciatingly real that we felt embarrassed to be present during the escalation of what began as a parent/teacher meeting.


The director of Between the Sheets as well being the Artistic Director of Pi Theatre, Richard Wolfe has his own theatrical agenda. This agenda is to push us (Lotus Land inhabitants that we are, we need some of that) into theatre that will challenge us. Last year’s Terminus (also a Pi Theatre production) probably caused many planning trips to Ireland to cancel abruptly. Terminus made Dublin seem like a hell on earth. But I would never reject Wolfe's idea that plays should be sugar-free. One needs such jolts.

Such was the delivery of this play, the starkness of the location under unpleasant fluorescent lighting, the smell of the linoleum floor (I asked Rebecca to check for chewing gum under the desks but she told me that it would only happen in high school) and finally a performance so real that it seemed effortless, that I felt that I did not belong there. My Rebecca added later that unlike in a normal theatre you could read the expressions on other people’s places since was sat around the proceeding but left the centre of the classroom empty.

At one point, Caitriona Murphy (who plays Marion, Alex’s mother, whose father and teacher Teresa Stewart, Stephanie Moroz is perhaps having a fling with) brushed past me as the whole classroom was the stage.

The dialogue at one point made me think, “This is terrible. She is using the expression ‘trophy wife’. This play is full of clichés.”  And then I thought again and saw how real all this seemed. People do talk like that.  It was not a reality show. It was a discussion between women who in the end do meet for a few seconds and see eye-to-eye. That brief comfort zone was then shattered with no resolution.

I feel that I was right in taking my 11 year-old granddaughter Lauren Stewart to see the excellent Arts Theatre Production of Mary Poppins a few months ago.




I  also feel that taking Rebecca to Between the Sheets (lots of f-words and the shocking use, once[!], of the C-word, Rebecca opened her mouth wide) was a challenging afternoon that in its own way did entertain us, but more important it helped, perhaps diminish that chasm that sometimes separates grandfathers from their granddaughters. 

Between the Sheets is on until March 26. For info here.



     

Previous Posts
I Think The Longest Hour

The Snapshot - La Instantánea

The Spirit Lasts

Smelling Roses & Eros On A Linoleum-tiled Floor

Omphaloskepsis

Almost Black

Fuji FP-3000B & Revolving Chandeliers

My Dell CRT Monitor & That Epson PerfectionV700 Ph...

Karen Gerbrecht, Max Factor & My Fuji X-E1

We Are Highfalutin Snobs



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8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17