Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: (Ottawa) Blackout (Fringe)

Different Blackouts
by Sonia Blanchette

There are many definitions of what a 'blackout' is. Upon entering the BYOV Café Alt, you are led to believe that there has been one version of these blackouts - a power outage with only the auxiliary lights on. 

It dawned on me only after I was seated and after I realized that the dimmed lighting portrayed prison bars, that I had been greeted by a uniformed male sporting RCMP credentials. It simply solidified the synopsis of the play. 

Young James has had another version of these blackouts - a temporary loss of memory, lack of self-awareness and human consciousness brought on by a cocktail of Vodka and illicit drugs. The years of witnessing his mother being beaten by his dad, bullying by his so-called friends and trying to fit in have taken their toll. He is defiant, horribly angry and completely alone. His only friend and confidant, Grandpa, has passed. He sheds his Goth-like mostly sullen look only to adopt a harsher Nazi-like persona, all accompanied with Swastikas, Doc Martens, weapons and idealisms.  

The concept and theme 'imagine' is predominant throughout the many emotional and very relatable characters. It leaves you wondering 'what if it happened and what would I do?'' The performances are especially poignant and realistic. The overall play makes you wonder what deep dark secrets are possibly lurking and God forbid being dreamed up deep down by someone whom you consider a close, trustworthy child/parent/relative/friend. Consider: Jennifer Pan (2014), Jasmine Richardson (2006), Christopher Porco (2004).

It is particularly dark, yet honest, real, current here and now, and thought provoking.  

June 19 - 29

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