Reviews: Last of SummerWorks: Rohinton Mistery’s THE SCREAM and SAFE AND SORRY

by Lynn on August 19, 2019

in The Passionate Playgoer

My last two from SummerWorks, Theatre Centre, Toronto, Ont.

Rohinton Mistry’s THE SCREAM

 Written by Rohinton Mistry

Conceived, adapted and performed by Anand Rajaram

Set, costume and make-up by Roxanne Ignatius

Sound by Nicholas Murray

Lighting by Mark Andrada

An man is treated badly by the other people in his dwelling because he is old, has an unsightly skin disease and either imagines or actually hears a scream coming from outside. The old man’s story-telling is masterful (because Rohinton Mistry is a masterful story-teller) and because Anand Rajaram, who is performing his adapted piece, is a wonderful actor.

Rajaram is expressive, nuanced and theatrically savvy. The costume by Roxanne Ignatius looks like traditional garb for an old man from India. The make-up of blotches of red on the old man’s face impressively illustrates the man’s disease. Roxanne Ignatius also created the set. The walls are a riot of faces with the mouths opened in screams. There is a window at the back of one wall through which the old man looks out to the street to see where the scream is coming from.

Nicholas Murray has created a sound scape of rumbling, bell ringing sounds that underscore the whole show that is some of the most annoying, intrusive, overwhelming noise I’ve heard in a long time. Too much of the story-telling is rendered incomprehensible because the soundscape drowns it out. Mark Andrada’s constant blinking, floating lighting effects only adds to the distracting frustration. Is this supposed to be ambient lighting from the street? Why?

To say that this production is overproduced is an understatement. I would love to ‘hear’ this show again without any set, intrusive lighting and no sound effects except the mellifluous voice of Anand Rajaram.

Has closed.


Safe and Sorry

Part  of SummerWorks Lab.

Co-created and performed by Lauren Gillis and Alaine Huytton

Directed by Chelsea Dab Hilke

Co-performed by Angela Blumberg

Sound by Kelly Anderson

Film design by Peter Demas

Costume designed by Lauren Gillis and Alaine Hutton

A man with a sporty facial hair design gives a seminar for men on how to pick up women that will give them the impression they (the men) are respectful and only want the women to feel safe in their presence. The intention after the pickup is not for cordial conversation and discussion of life, art and history—it’s to have sex. So the safe and respectful attitude is a pretense. The lecturer, a calm, quiet speaking Lauren Gillis who is intriguing and gently compelling, stands in contrast to the various characters played by Alaine Hutton. Hutton’s characters vary from an awkward, shy mumbler who has no finesse around women and a twitchy thug-like clod who doesn’t look like he would have much use for the subtle line, he’d get right to the point. Angela Blumberg plays a stage hand in pants and white sleeveless t-shirt that brings props on and off, very efficiently. You believe she’s a man too.

The thesis of the piece is put simply in this line: “When I am on a date, where do I put my hand so that it will be obviously sexual, but not creepy?”

The creators then go on to expound on this in the most esoteric and elliptical way. Interesting that women dressed as men are pondering the question posed by men.

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