Review: Every Minute of Every Day

by Lynn on April 23, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Streaming for free on the Factory Theatre website.

Part of their audio drama series: You Can’t Get There From Here

Written by Keith Barker

Directed by Akosua Amo-Adem

Sound Design by Michelle Bensimon

Cast: Allison Edwards-Crewe

Marcia Johnson

Initially it looks deceptively like a story of reconciliation but then it quietly turns into something even more important.

The Story. Every Minute of Every Day  by Keith Barker is part of Factory Theatre’s five part radio drama series called You Can’t Get There From Here.An episode drops every week and this one is from last week.

It’s about two sisters, Mia and Fran, who have been estranged but Mia has asked Fran to come to the city—Tkaronto (Toronto). We get the sense that Fran lives in a small town. Mia lives in the big city, Toronto.  Fran drove in the day before and was stunned by the traffic on the 401, the price of a cup of coffee and a room at the Royal York Hotel.  She and Mia start bickering immediately.  It seems as if they are reverting to their younger selves that might have foreshadowed the rift. One tries to boss the other. There is pushback. Each stands her ground. But there are also fond memories.  Every Second of Every Day has been described as a memory play and how one’s memories differs for others’ memories.

We never really find out what caused the rift. We learn that one sister was emotionally hurt by the other and the other sister was disappointed.

Why them did Fran come to Toronto? Without giving too much away, I think there was a need to attempt a reconciliation. On this trip the sisters were going to go to various places that meant a lot to them: the CN Tower, Massey Hall, Maple Leaf Gardens, Jet Fuel Café on Church Street, St. James Cemetery and finally the Scarborough Bluffs. In the course of the tour we learn that when they were younger these sisters were close. They went to concerts together. They went to the Brunswick House together often on the weekends—Fran is shocked to learn it is now a pharmacy. They reminisce about their father and how he got Wendel Clark’s autograph and the laughs that resulted.  A lot of the radio drama is the sisters burying their hurt and remembering better times.

Production and Comment. I think Keith Barker has written a beautifully deceptive play.You think it’s going in one direction and then it veers off in another that has you wondering what you are actually listening to. What is the story I thought I was listening to and what is actually happening?There are wonderful subtle hints in the text that keep you alert and wondering.  Rather than being a play about reconciliation you see it’s about gratitude.They visit places that gave them pleasure, that meant a lot to one or the other of them.  Mia has planned out the sites they will see.If you know the city you can see where they are going.Each stop is meaningful. The last one is the most poignant.

It’s directed by Akosua Amo-Adem with meticulous attention to detail. She knows when to bring in music (kudos to Michelle Bensimon for the sound design)  for the best effect and when to just let the words and silence speak.  The acting by Allison Edwards-Crewe as Mia and Marcia Johnson as Fran is terrific. There is a careful balance to the give and take of the two actresses as sisters. They carefully build the relationship until we realize the weight and importance to this trip.

And as for the title—Every Minute of Every Day—perhaps Keith Barker is saying that we should take every minute of every day and live it to the fullest.  I liked this latest edition of You Can’t Get There From Here, a lot.

Every Minute of Every Day is streaming for free on the Factory Theatre website.

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