If, like me, you’re a bright young idiot prone to moments of bombast, it’s good policy to build yourself rhetorical escape hatches. Bombast is useful when it causes folks to go “WHAT?! He’s OUT TO LUNCH!” and then try to articulate why, but it’s hard to stand behind in the long run.
A few days ago, I wrote that the one-person show (of which Theatre Passe Muraille is Toronto’s, perhaps Canada’s, leading institutional cultivator) is a form that’s ill-suited to respond to cultural and political complexity. Aware that I might get hungry and wish to eat these words, I mentioned — rhetorical escape hatch! — that of course there are exceptions.
Here’s one: last week I saw American monologuist Mike Daisey’s Dreaming of Rob Ford, a solo show presented as part of Crow’s Theatre’s East End Performance Crawl Festival (still running!), and loved it.
I first discovered Rosamund Small’s writing when I was a juror for the Sears Drama Festival’s new play competition for high school students several years ago. I was like 21 or something myself, had a stack of plays to read, and came across a script that struck me as hugely assured. I had no info about the author besides that he or she was an Ontario high school student, but I scribbled a little note on the feedback sheet that went something like: “Hope you’ll keep writing plays! You’re super good at it. If you ever have a show onstage, please shoot me an e-mail and let me know.” And I left my e-mail address. A year or two later, behold: there was an e-mail.
I discovered a terrific new play last weekend. It’s called Turtleneck and its author is Brandon Crone, a National Theatre School acting grad who runs a theatre company called Safeword, the mandate of which is, in part, “to facilitate, through the medium of theatre, a forum of philosophical discussion and critical thought surrounding issues that are relevant to modern society.”
Remarkably, Turtleneck does that. And it deserves way more notice than it’s gotten.