True Believers

Dates and Venue 29 October - 9 November 2008, Tues - Sun 8pm (Sat. Matinees 2pm) | Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island

Directors Camyar Chai, John Cooper & Rachel Ditor Set Design & LightingYvan Morrisette Sound Alexander Brendan Ferguson

Reviewer John Jane

Solo Collective’s motif is to showcase two or even three dramatic monologues having a central focus into a single live theatre production. Their current presentation, True Believers is a collection of three monologues written separately by Dennis Foon, Lorena Gale, and Ian Weir with the pivotal theme of Faith.

The three uniquely different tales deal with having faith, then losing it and eventually, in one form or another, rediscovering it.

First up is “My Acid Trip” written by Dennis Foon, directed by Camyar Chai and very capably performed by Todd Thomson. I’m not sure whether Mr. Thomson is actually Jewish or not, but he is certainly able to display quirky, well crafted nuances easily identified with East European Jewish people.

With the aid of a cordless microphone, a little background klezmer music and an imaginary family portrait, Thomson relates tales of his un-named character’s redoubtable great-uncle Moshe through several members of his colourful Russian immigrant family, including his mother, father and Uncle Sam.

As a consequence of an emotional disconnect with his father, who suffered from severe psoriasis (Thomson’s vivid interpretation of his father’s condition left me with a yearn to continually scratch myself) he undergoes a crisis of identity which ultimately leads to a bad experience with LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)

Juxtaposed with Thomson’s extremely physical performance is Mercedes Baines’ understated, though just as compelling reading of “The Voice.” (Written by Lorena Galeand directed by John Cooper)

Rita is a middle-aged black woman who finds herself sitting alone at a bus stop in the late evening. It soon becomes apparent that she is at a crossroads both physically and figuratively. She freely reveals a poignant story of a solid and satisfying relationship her spouse, Phil. Initially, she appears to be blasé about her husband’s infidelity, but her disposition soon gives way to pain and anger.

A voice inside her head has brought to this junction. The number 100 bus to the airport and start of a new, uncertain journey and the number 20 bus will take her home, back to a life she knows too well. But which one will she choose?

In “Hope and Caritas” the third and final monologue, Carrie Sheridan has played Hope Greentree on the popular television soap opera, ‘The Light that Shines’ for 33 years.

But poor audience ratings, or perhaps it was only poor ratings with her producer, has caused Carrie to be “killed-off” in a bizarre fashion that would make it improbable for her ever to return to the programme.

Carrie has had her faith in loyalty destroyed, so, in a last-ditch attempt to hold on to her role, she launches a heartfelt appeal to fans and friends at a press conference. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

“Hope and Caritas” was written by Ian Weir, directed by Rachel Ditor and performed by Jennifer Clement.

© 2008 John Jane