Not a Review: OUT THE WINDOW

by Lynn on March 18, 2012

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Theatre Centre March 17,18, 19, 20, 25.

Written and directed by Liza Balkan. Scenography by Trevor Schwellnus. Lighting by Michelle Ramsay. Sound by Thomas Ryder Payne.

Presented by the Theatre Centre and the Window Collective.

This isn’t a review of Out the Window at the Theatre Centre for a really short run. But it’s an important piece of theatre that has had a lot of development and will probably have more. I think the show is still in the fragile workshop stage. Actors held scripts etc. Most important, it should be seen.

Seeing and what was seen is at its heart. Actor/director/writer Liza Balkan saw something out the window of her apartment in August of 2000 that changed her life. She saw four police officers beating and kicking a man (Otto Vass) on the ground. She doesn’t know what started the altercation. She doesn’t know if the man being beaten was resisting arrest; or if he had a weapon; or what happened to precipitate such a drastic response.

She called out perhaps to get the police to stop. She was interviewed by the police. She went to court and was questioned by a snappily-dressed lawyer who did his best to twist her around making her wonder what she originally said; or saw; or thought. The verdict came down. It’s more dramatic to let the play tell you what it was rather than Googling it.

As with many gifted artists, Liza Balkan uses theatre to question, ponder, probe and discover. She needs to be clear about what she saw and thought and believed. Out the Window is how she’s answering those questions.

While this isn’t a review—just a retelling of what I saw—Balkan has a strong cast, of whom Julie Tepperman plays Liza Balkan, and David Ferry and R. H. Thomson play the two lawyers. Other actors play the police, witnesses, and neighbours.

Out the Window makes you squirm for all the right reasons. It’s worth a look to see where it goes from here.

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