Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: (Toronto) Forgiveness

(photo by John Lauener)
Tipping the Balance
by Beat Rice

For lack of a better term, Forgiveness is an extremely well balanced show. Visually and intellectually, it does not lean towards one side more than the other. The show consists of energetic and aggressive physicality, and is balanced with quieter isolated moments, when one must listen harder than look. It plays between light and funny scenes and serious content without making us feel uncomfortable. There are moments of casual conversation in which the performers talk facing the audience, mixed in with high dance performance. Thomas Ryder Payne has created an amazing sound design, one that could be impressive on its own. Payne’s sound design does not just accompany the show; it is a vital part of it.
As for the question the piece poses, they company does not ask us to be more or less forgiving, but to truly question where the feelings come from, and why. The personal anecdotes consist of horrifying global atrocities to familial relationship problems. We are left thinking: What is forgivable? Whose forgiveness do I crave? 

There is a strong focus on the act and process of forgiving. In the end I was left wanting to hear more about what drives us to a point where forgiveness becomes a challenge. Guilt, shame, fear, lack of understanding, hurt, and our own individual biases and cultural background all influence how we deal with forgiveness. I would have loved to see more exploration of what brings us to the brink of being able or not able to forgive, although that would probably have made a much longer show. 

This is the result of a very well workshopped piece. It is clear even before reading the program notes. Every aspect of the well paced 80-minute production has been refined and the question and concepts are clear and coherent. Each performer has their own opportunity built into the show to display their skill and personality. 

Feb. 15 - Mar. 1
Read also an interview with director Soheil Parsa

1 comment:

  1. and the costumes are beautifully subtle, they give each scene exactly what is needed. Simplistic and wonderful.


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