Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Coma

Lorraine Klaasen
Coma, an undead family drama 
by Rebecca Lillian

It’s Halloween weekend. It is a time for all kinds of undead stories. The play, Coma, is a good choice if you are: a) fed up with the usual ghoulish undead type of stories (ghosts, vampires, zombies and so on) and b) are looking for something a little less horror and a little more family drama. Coma is a good drama about serious issues. 

I typically don’t do dramas. Dramas can be relentlessly boring. However, in this case, the characters and story were endlessly interesting. The premise: a mother, Nana (Lorraine Klaasen) trapped between life and death who is unable to communicate with her children. The relationship between siblings Ifueko (Bridget Ogundipe) and Osasu (Wale Ojo) developed nicely and is what brought life to the play. The siblings navigate between right and wrong and family secrets are exposed. 

Ifueko, (Bridget Ogundipe) is the daughter who has been taking care of Nana (Lorraine Klaasen) despite how unfairly she has been treated by Nana, whom she calls mother.  Nana’s son, Osasu (Wale Ojo), who has been living in Canada with his new family, flies into town for the weekend to pray away his mother’s condition. When Nana doesn’t wake up because Osasu prayed it to be so he concludes that she wants to die. And so the debates between brother and sister about God, life and death continue.

There are moments that sometimes feel like a dramatized essay on the moral dilemma of the play. It felt slow at times but then again it’s a drama. I was pleased that even though it was serious subject matter there were some comedic moments. It is set in a hospital room and there is a white curtain that Nana walks behind singing, praying and lamenting.  

There was a lot of singing. I mean, I get it when you have a cast of talented singers you make ‘em sing even if some of the songs feel out of place and disconnected. It’s just one of those glorious theatre moments that makes an audience member keenly aware that they are watching a play.

Overall, Coma is a good pick if you like drama.

Coma runs to November 3 

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