Even though introducing the globe premiere of Colleen Wagner’s “Armadillos,” Manufacturing unit Theatre’s inventive director Mel Hague incorporated a couple terms about the complications of creating and mounting new performs. In retrospect, that felt like a warning. The engage in that went up on opening evening, although comprehensive of intriguing tips, wasn’t very all set for a comprehensive manufacturing.
All of which is a disgrace. Wagner’s Governor General’s Award-winning participate in “The Monument” gained a riveting remount in that incredibly exact location 5 years in the past, directed by Jani Lauzon, who’s also helming the new piece.
And “Armadillos,” which was programmed by Factory’s former A.D. Nina Lee Aquino, absolutely attributes a promising meta-theatrical established-up.
A quartet of actors is touring the nation in a new interpretation of the Greek myth of the marriage of Thetis and Peleus. Midway through the tour, an actor named Karmyne (Mirabella Sundar Singh) has replaced the female taking part in Thetis, and this has caused some pressure among the the other three actors: Jay (Ryan Hollyman), who performs Zeus, Sofia (Zorana Sadiq), who is Hera, and the younger Dyrk (Paolo Santalucia), who stars opposite Karmyne as Peleus.
Just after a temporary prologue, in which we see the actors warm up right before likely on — and Karmyne appears late, obviously upsetting Jay — we’re demonstrated what appears to be the initially act of the Greek tale.
This engage in-inside-a-enjoy explores the prophecy that Thetis’s son would develop into greater than his father. Zeus, played with rapacious, libidinous electricity by Hollyman, is clearly attracted to the 17-calendar year-old goddess Thetis, and so wishes his wife Hera to set up a relationship in between Thetis and the mortal Peleus so his potential offspring will not increase up to overpower him. Thetis, having said that, has other options.
There is a impressive feminist topic in this article about gals complicated set up patriarchal devices. Regretably it is not adequately explored in the second act, which is established in modern day times, exactly where the libations are whisky and sexual associates are a mere swipe of a relationship application away.
As they take off their make-up and transform into their normal dresses, Karmyne shows Sofia some hookup possibilities on her telephone Sofia’s not intrigued. Following Karmyne has remaining for her date, Jay barges into the women’s dressing place and frightens Sofia, which triggers some kind of PTSD reaction. Yet, the two actors concur to meet at the bar downstairs later on. In that exact same bar, Jay runs into Dyrk, and they awkwardly focus on the general performance. Later however, Dyrk operates into Karmyne, and they type a link.
A single of the troubles with all this is that it feels like the actors are meeting every single other for the very first time, even though they obviously would have gone by means of weeks of rehearsals and, with the exception most likely of Karmyne, have toured the clearly show to other cities and towns.
By that time, patterns and rhythms would have been recognized and histories unearthed more than lots of a drink and limitless tour bus trip. But neither Wagner nor Lauzon recommend any of people details. Unusually, no one particular mentions the actor who earlier played Thetis, and why she left the tour. And there are no crew customers all over. Why?
Wagner delivers some insights into the at any time-transforming ability dynamics involving the genders and how language comes with historic baggage. When Sofia tells Jay not to use the term “man” in the expression “Oh, man, sorry,” her level is obvious — and reasonable. And the crucial idea of consent arrives up in a few intriguing approaches.
But because we know so minor about these characters — we get only the vaguest hints about their backgrounds — their observations seldom resonate, besides in the most noticeable and superficial techniques. Right after Karmyne claims one of her potential hookups phone calls himself a “sugar daddy” Sofia balks and the more youthful girl asks no matter whether she would not be content as Zeus’s properly-provided-for spouse Hera.
A trace of what this engage in could develop into arrives late in the second act, when the actors’ chaotic personal life impact the present they’re placing on. But by then it is much too very little, as well late.
The actors — the real actors, that is — do fine get the job done with what they’ve been presented, in particular Sadiq, who implies an psychological heritage and sophisticated established of feelings as both Sofia and Hera.
And Trevor Schwellnus’s styles for set, props and lighting give us some thing mysterious to look at. The set is dominated by what search like sheets of twisting items of plastic when distinctive colored lights hit them they produce startling shadowy effects that right away alter the mood and feel of a scene.
If individuals scenes had been far better developed, “Armadillos” may well glow far more brightly.
By Colleen Wagner, directed by Jani Lauzon. Enjoying at the Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst, by means of June 24. manufacturing unit.ca and 416-504-9971.
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