Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) Imprisoned (Fringe)

The World is not Black and White
by Robyn Lester

Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to really digest what I’ve seen.  I consider it a sign of a good play. Anything that keeps me thinking long after I’ve seen it is always worthwhile. Imprisoned is one of those plays. 

Written by Allie Bell, I found this piece uncomfortable to watch.  There’s no other way to say it. Uncomfortable because it took the subject matter of pedophilia, something that is almost always thought of in black and white terms, and proceeded to present it in shades of gray. I think it was a brave thing to write, and something that really encourages people to think more about the nature of right and wrong. This wasn’t so much a story of a bad guy and good guy, but the story of two people who are imprisoned by their need to do what they think is right.  

It seemed as if Bell crafted the script in such a way so that Salvatore (played by Jeff Lefebvre) wasn’t vilified for pedophilia right away. Bell provided just enough information so that the audience suspected that Salvatore was guilty, but also added an element of psychological instability that created a space for empathy on behalf of the audience. Is he evil, or is he just incredibly misguided and perhaps mentally ill? 

Lefebvre did an absolutely fantastic job portraying this character. Salvatore’s intentions are initially ambiguous. I wasn’t sure if they were malicious or not. But by the end Lefebvre transformed him into a disturbing psychopath. It was eerie. 

Although I found myself lost in the story a couple of times, I appreciate work that shows different sides of the same story. And this piece certainly did. I think it could do with some more revisions, but it certainly has the potential to be a fantastic play. A play that challenges people and questions the boundaries of right and wrong.  

If you like shows that make you re-evaluate your way of thinking, this is a good one.

Imprisoned is at the Ottawa Fringe

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