Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) We Glow (Fringe)

Corporate Politics of the Bottom Line
by Jim Murchison

Brad Long and Emily Pearlman write and perform this piece which has been crisply directed by Kevin Orr. We Glow is performed in The Senate Room at Ottawa University and is the most uniquely staged production at the festival - being performed entirely in a Boardroom where a results-driven husband and wife team are fighting to retain or regain their status as cornerstones in the company. A portion of the audience actually dons business jackets and play a minor role as the largely unspeaking scrutinizing Board of Directors while Pearlman and Long cajole and preen, stutter and flirt, explain and plead their case like banished children to disapproving parents.
There are planned moments of interjection from selected audience members that demand responses from our couple who are definitely not star crossed lovers. They are a bottom line marital merger whose decisions are based on improvement of personal wealth, status and power. Even decisions on whether to start a family are largely decided on how that would benefit the couple's corporate desirability.
I was glad I was on the Board which meant I had a really comfortable swivel chair, because the performance  space is behind the Boardroom table, around it, on it, under it and also at the back centre of the audience. While the play does touch a bit on the corporate plunder and overspending that resulted in the recent financial crisis, it is much more about the social politics of the corporate world and it ends with an intriguing non sequitur about human spirit. 
The play is directed and performed very cleanly with a machine like precision but it is by no means emotionless. In fact, despite the we-mean-business attitude of Long and Pearlman they allow occasional flashes to the audience that they may indeed have souls after all. This is quite a unique piece and I only lightly landed on some of the general themes. You would need to see it to find out what stands out to you as the pace is swift.
We glow is at the Ottawa Fringe
runtime: approximately 75 minutes with no intermission

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