Review: MONDAY NIGHTS (Part of Luminato)

by Lynn on June 12, 2019

in The Passionate Playgoer

At 291 Lakeshore Blvd. E, just before Parliament, Toronto, Ont.

Created and performed by:

Byron Abalos

Colin Doyle

Darrel Gamotin

Richard Lee

Sarah Miller

Jeff Yung

The creators of this joyous, moving show played basketball on Monday nights beginning about a decade ago. Because of the camaraderie, stories and respect they enjoyed both on and off the court, they thought there might be a play here. They were right. With the support of the Residency Program at the Theatre Centre, Monday Nights  had its world premiere in 2014 at the Theatre Centre. It was remounted in 2015, and played at the Kick and Push Festival in Kingston, Ont.

And now it’s at Luminato.

We are given the rules by referee Colin Doyle who just bursts into the room where the audience gathers. Doyle is serious, funny, impish and matter-of-fact. Once we are allowed into the space we are invited to look in the five gym bags situated around the floor and pick the player we wish to follow according to the contents of his gym bag. My guy (Darrel Gamotin) had a book and the New Yorker in his bag. His gym shoes were neatly tied (?) (I learned they were slip on) and pristine white. Darrel Gamotin represents the black team. We sit as a group and cheer him on.

Doyle explains the various shots the players will make: lay-ups, straight shots, etc. The players guard and play each other. In between plays they tell us about themselves. Gamotin is the father of a newborn baby girl. He is devoted to his family. He seems a serious, thoughtful young man who plays hard on the court.

And then the audience is invited to participate. There is no pressure. It’s good natured and supportive. If a member or a team member makes a basket everybody applauds.

While this show coincidentally happens around the excitement of the ‘other’ basketball team, Monday Nights displays all the positive attributes of team playing, and that includes the invited audience, the camaraderie, the tenacity of being in the game and not wavering, the personal stories that are shared as well as the secrets that are respected. There is a lot of personal information that is shared and some seems rather painful. I wonder if this is true. I recall Daughter by Adam Lazarus—a powerful, unsettling play that played the Theatre Centre. I thought the story was about the actor and not a character named “Adam Lazarus,” until I was told: “Lynn, the first line is a lie.” That made things clearer. But still, one wonders about the same thing with Monday Nights, which I guess is another one of its many mysteries and good points.

I found the whole structure and makeup of the evening to be both joyous and moving. We cheered for both our team and the others. You leave feeling buoyant.

6th Man Collective and the Theatre Centre present:

Opened: June 7, 2019.

Closes: June 16, 2019.

Running Time: 2 hours.

www.luminato.com

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