Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Eating Pomegranates Naked (SummerWorks)

Secrets Will Out. 
by Ramya Jegatheesan

Five friends are at a dinner party. There’s a discarded pregnancy test, a snoopy new wife, a single thoughtless off-the-cuff remark and the devastating revelation that follows. That’s all it takes to set off the chain reaction of confessions and confrontations that lays bare the internal organs of the play’s romantic relationships but also threatens to rupture them. 

Andrea Scott’s Eating Pomegranates Naked forces us to grapple with some deep questions. What does it mean to be a woman? To be married? To be infertile? And what place does truth have in a relationship? 

The ensemble cast plays like a beautifully orchestrated symphony: by turns subtle, powerful, clever and many-layered with a clear resonating melodic line. Their performances complement and support one another, and apart from a few stumbles over lines stand their own ground. 

Marci T House was a stand out as Sera Hansa, the long-suffering wife reeling from her fifth miscarriage. Your heart breaks for her when you hear her say she wants “to be released from feeling like a walking tomb” and her husband Scott (Eli Ham) describes how they had to get two mattresses in the last five years because miscarriages are bloody and messy. It is details like this that make you forget you are watching a play. 

If this sounds like an emotional overload, it is and it isn’t. Andrea Scott’s script is intense and raw, but it is also hilarious. The jokes are original and abundant and the laughs are frequent. There is a discussion of the merits of dating men with skullets (i.e. a man who is balding in front, but wears a long flowing ponytail in the back) and Murphy Brown’s baby. But it never shies away from the hard questions and that can be cathartic and transformative. 

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