100 minutes of “THIS”. Last night I went to see a new play by playwright Melissa James Gibson. “This” was incisive, insightful and incitefull. Almost shamefully engaging, as we eavesdrop on the lives, thoughts and struggles of 5 middle aged individuals trying to define who they are and whom they are in relationship to –
This was a play that I had been invited to audition for and did so. Obviously, as my part was audience member last night, I did not successfully win the role. I could quickly see why. Of the two male parts I auditioned for “Tom” and “Alan”. Tom(played by Andrew Batten) was easily the best physical (both individual and ensemble) match for the role of the unhappy male carpenter in a challenging marriage to a beautiful singer and mother. Andrew certainly brought his “A” game to the role finding the vulnerability and complexity of the character. As for “Alan” (played by Michael Harvey). He was a force to be reckoned with. I had watched and marveled at (as one could only do) Michael in the auditions. Both eclectic and electric in the sharped witted and comedic timing of his characterization of the gay, sometimes Jewish (in-play joke) friend.
Amanda Jane Smith, cast as Jane, the main character in this ensemble presented a finely balanced and on-point portrayal.
Audra Yulanda Gray (playing Tom’s wife Marrell) intrinsically meshed the challenges of her multi-coloured roles of new mother, unsatisfied wife and emerging singing artist…and the bonus was a splendid singing performance.
Even in his small role as the foreigner, the one outside this clutch of friends, Christian Martel, found all the sweet spots.
I’ll not go into the plot but to say, it was real and rich with well written and wonderfully articulated dialogue on the human condition. I will say that 100 minutes without intermission was masterfully timed and directed by Rebecca Ballarin. The perception of a good director could be seen – because it couldn’t be seen.
Though the audience may have been small in numbers, they were high charged and well entertained by this work.
This is why the shout-out to go see “THIS”