Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fitting Room and Snowfrog double bill does a lot with little

May 11, 2017 by Felicia Santarossa, contributing writer

The Fitting Room and Snowfrog may display drastically different situations, yet on a deeper level, the two plays—on now as a double bill at Intrepid Theatre—manage to connect. The intensity the actors brought to their roles on opening night was astounding. While it is at times a little over the top, their characterizations allowed me to become immersed into their stories.

The Fitting Room and Snowfrog put emphasis on their excellent writing (photo provided).

With The Fitting Room, those selfish and think-you-know-everything teenage years are fleshed out in tragedy, although with enough humour to give it heart. Themes of loss and what one’s self-concept is stumble cohesively in the department-store fitting room. The characters’ stories interlock almost too perfectly, but with just enough awkwardness to keep it organic. While watching, the actors’ portrayals of early teenagers become more natural as the play flies forward, particularly with Brendan Elwell as the haunted Harvey.

Snowfrog provides a much darker tone right from the beginning, and its—literally—cagey, anxious atmosphere makes certain the audience remains uncomfortable. Dealing with a war between Quebec and the rest of Canada, spurred by the Quebec Liberation Front and the 1980 referendum, the play slices right through any assumptions that it would play nice. The dystopian Canada described is nothing like the one I know and love, illustrating its provocative narrative through polished execution. Kudos to the use of the PA system and lighting, making the new Canada’s actions all the more chilling.

The single set pieces and use of description-heavy monologues make both productions practical for the small stage. This put a great emphasis on the writing, which sparkled for both pieces. Each production is minimalist in props, allowing the characters to shine through and display storytelling in its purest form. The other worlds and memories blossoming out of the actors’ mouths paint clear-cut pictures. Despite the brevity of the plays, with each lasting roughly an hour, worlds are fully formed and leave an impression long after the lights dim.

The Fitting Room and Snowfrog
8 pm, until May 12
Various prices, Intrepid Theatre
vinobuonoproductions.com

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