Review: THIS IS IT

by Lynn on January 19, 2014

in The Passionate Playgoer

This is It.

At the Lemon Tree space, 196 Spadina Ave. North of Queen, Toronto. Written by Sasha Singer-Wilson. Directed by Mark Wilson. Designed by George Quan. Starring Aris Athanasopoulos and Sarah Jurgens.

Produced by The Blood Projects. Opened Jan. 16, 2014

Eve works in a café. In those times when she is not busy serving customers, she struggles with crossword puzzles, which she does badly and in pencil. Others are always helping her out with the clues and the solutions.

One day Kostas, a graduate student studying genetics, lingers in the café. He chats up Eve in the hopes she will go out with him. Good natured banter from him; agitated, playing hard to get banter from her, peppered liberally with swearing.

The next scene is sometime later. They have had their first date and many more and now they are in the jumping on each other’s bones in bed stage. Kostas is obviously smitten. Eve is still short-tempered and swearing by she gives back the hugs, kisses and lustiness that Kostas gives her.

Then there is the wedding-night scene with Eve minging about the wedding itself but still ready for lots of bed action. Kostas is obviously in love.

In short order there is a scene in which they are diligently trying for a baby, complete with timing of when to have sex and how long Eve has to remain still in bed.

Cracks appear in the marriage. Eve is not happy and she has a secret that she tells Kostas that devastates him. The marriage breaks up. They go their separate ways, or do they?

The Blood Projects is a young company that wants to do theatre. It was founded by Sarah Jurgens (who plays Eve) and Sasha Singer-Wilson who wrote the play. Bravo for their fortitude and finding the quirky space on Spadina to do their play. Another go round is in order.

Sasha Singer –Wilson has written the bare bones of the play but not the connective tissue and muscle that holds it together to form a full bodied work. Eve and Kostas never really have any kind of a serious conversation about anything. I never get the sense that Eve is fully written. She seems one long angry note. We don’t see her inner life, only her superficial outer one. Kostas is better written. He has depth and variation.

This makes it hard to play, certainly for Sarah Jurgens as Eve. One long pout, lots of gratuitous swearing; all consuming mysterious unhappiness and it’s tiring. As Kostas, Aris Athanasopoulos is certainly more varied in his performance; engaging and attractive.

It’s directed rather busily by Mark Wilson, I think because there is so little in the play to hang action on that if there is all sorts of activity—constant changing of clothes, characters circling each other and the ever present bed—we won’t notice that This is It, isn’t.

A note to would be producers etc. A few suggestions. We in the audience would like to be able to read your program, truly. It is not helpful at all if the background colour is so dark we can’t make out any information, not even in bright light.

Tell us on the front page of said program where the event is. If it’s a theatre say so. If there is address, tell us. Give us the dates of the run. Give us the url link where we can find out more info on your company such as the box office phone number. The program for This is It is an unfortunate example of all of this.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 M January 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I thought both performers were excellent and sexy and that the dialogue was spot on. I wouldn’t say it was “busy” I think the scenes were high energy and naturally that energy had to manifest as heightened physicality. It was delightfully theatrical. The last scene at the airport I could’ve done without, but thats about it. Totally agree with the program, could not read it.


2 P March 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Just saw this review. I loved this play. A highlight of my winter theatre experiences. I thought it was smart, refreshingly paced and that the actors were superb. They were truly listening and responding to one another, a rarity on stages in Toronto. The writing was quick-witted and so believable and the directing was spot on. I was left wanting more! I am disheartened by your attack on young artists who are bringing brave, new energy to our city. I say, Bravo! I look forward to more from the blood projects.