The Conch Collective

Sunday on the Rocks

By Theresa Rebeck
Scotch on the Rocks

Directed by the Conch Collective with assistance from Scott Swan Set Design: The Collective Lighting Design: John Bessette/Scott Swan

Venue: Waterfront Theatre Dates: 2-12 April 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan

The more things change, the more they stay the same. So Sunday on the Rocks. Could four women ever share an apartment without quarrels, name calling, and vituperation? Try Sunday on the Rocks for a contemporary comment on this scenario in today's Vancouver.

Vigorously performed by the Conch Collective, this play highlights the highs and lows of the lives and loves of four working women in today's uncertain world. The dictum of the fun-loving enjoyment- seeking Elly, (Tara Goerzen) is get drunk on Sunday and face the truth. Two flat mates join in the game and spend an overlong time criticizing and denigrating the apartment's owner, the absent Jessica. After a plethora of successive scotches the three, Elly, Gayle (Dal Yagan), and Jen (Julie Sinclair) try to discover their futures with the aid of a ouija board. When this produces no answers, they join hands and try to contact the spirit of Elly's deceased mother. The expectant silence is broken by the entrance of Jessica (Christine Anton).

Jessica is the owner of the now chaotic apartment. She is older than the other three and has seen and learnt a bit about life. All her efforts at reconciliation with her tenants are unsuccessful, though Gayle, the quietest of the younger three, is beginning to grow up and be less volatile. At Jessica's urging Jen leaves to try to make up with her boyfriend. Jessica tells Elly a few unpleasant home truths, and in the middle of this violent quarrel Jen returns, beaten up by her boyfriend. Ultimately, Jessica walks out, Gayle takes charge, and together she and Elly close the play taking Jen to hospital.

This is a small slice of life as seen by unattached women with their uncertainties and anxieties about their future. The first act is overly long and the whole work overladen with so much shouting that one fears for the health of the actors' throats. There is some amusing and entertaining dialogue here, delivered very audibly, but the play lacks purpose and development. The production is a brave effort on the part of this small new company. I wish them lots of luck and hope to see them in the future.

2003, Jane Penistan