Empty Sea Company brings Nova Scotia-based playwright Jackie Torrens’ 2002 play Georama to the Toronto Fringe Festival, where it plays until July 11, 2015.
Georama is a poignant exploration of privilege and how, often, those who have it will do everything in their power to hold on to it, even after it is revealed that it less something they are entitled to have, but rather something arbitrary that has been thrust, randomly, upon them by an undiscerning universe. Torrens offers us two best friends, Hal Smyth and Sal Smith, who were born, identical healthy babies full of promise, at the same hospital on the same day at nearly the exact same moment. They were even delivered by the same doctor. Yet one went on to live a life as a white, affluent male and the other as a white, less affluent female. They grew up as best friends, but as adults, the disparity between the way they perceive the world, coloured, of course, by their experiences in it, is vast. Then, suddenly, when an old secret is revealed, Hal and Sal’s friendship, and their self-constructed understanding of the world and their place in it, is blown to smithereens. It is up to us, the audience, to seek to grapple with a solution.
The exploration of gender politics and classism comes alive in this production, directed by Arne MacPherson and featuring Kevin P. Gabel and Mandi Maxwell. The biggest challenge is that MacPherson and Maxwell haven’t created Hal and Sal to be three dimensional characters grounded in realism, nor do we get a real sense of their friendship and the care, history and love they share with one another, which makes it difficult for the audience to care about helping these two find their way back together.
Torrens’ plot in Georama, upon which she has built a compelling and insightful political argument, hinges on an unlikely coincidence, which means that Hal and Sal have to be able to convince the audience that they are not just archetypes to be dismissed, but people who live within the same social constructs as all of us, trying to better understand agency and responsibility and privilege.
TWISI FRINGE RATING:
Georama plays at the Factory Theatre Studio (125 Bathurst Street) as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival at the following times:
July 09 at 05:15 PM buy tickets
July 10 at 07:30 PM buy tickets
July 11 at 11:00 PM buy tickets