Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review: (Toronto / Theatre) Lungs

Brendan Gall, Lesley Faulkner (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

The Last Taboo
by Ramya Jegatheesan

M and W are in line at Ikea when M pops a question: babies?  

Cue avalanche of existential proportions. 

Are you a bad person if you bring a baby into a world where sea levels are rising? Where the human species is facing possible extinction? Where you would only add to the human footprint? 

What follows is a frank, intense and entertaining glimpse into the dreams, crises, and dilemmas facing today’s generation.  

You may not always like M (Brendan Gall) and W (Lesley Faulkner). They are flawed, but unapologetically real, and you come to understand them if not love them. And in Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs you are a fly on the wall in the most intimate and explosive of conversations a couple can have: should we have a baby?

This is a play with no crutches. The set is minimal: just two actors on a wood-panelled stage. There is no epic soundtrack or artful lighting. The lines come fast and hard. Words are volleyed, tossed back, and punctuated with hilariously awkward comedic moments. The actors move in time and place with nothing more than words and gestures to ground them. The pace is dizzying and exhilarating. There is nowhere to hide.

But Faulkner and Gall rise to the challenge. They jibe as W and M; their chemistry and timing are exquisite, and they are supported by Macmillan’s phenomenal rapid-fire script and guided by the deft hands of director Weyni Mengesha.  

Lungs is anything but preachy. It is that rare theatrical creature: an issue play that is raw, emotionally compelling, and intellectually profound. It is both thoughtful and thought provoking. Whether you have babies, want them or want nothing to do with them, this is one play you do not want to miss.  Just don’t go see this on a first date. That would be awkward.

Mar. 4 - 30

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