Next Stage review: Possessed

POSSESSED by Diana Bang (Classy Little Bitch Productions/Next Stage). At the Factory Antechamber (125 Bathurst). Jan 10 at 7:55 pm,.


POSSESSED by Diana Bang (Classy Little Bitch Productions/Next Stage). At the Factory Antechamber (125 Bathurst). Jan 10 at 7:55 pm, Jan 11 at 6:55 pm, Jan 12 at 7:40 pm, Jan 13 at 5:10 pm, Jan 14 at 7:55 pm, Jan 15 at 5:45 pm, Jan 16 at 8:10 pm, Jan 17 at 6:55 pm, Jan 18 at 8:55 pm, Jan 19 at 4:55 pm, Jan 20 at 6:30 pm. See listing. Rating: NNN

On the eve of her 35th birthday, Sarah (writer Diana Bang), a troubled Korean-Canadian woman, invokes the spirits of several ancestors to provide her with some solace. These spirits of a grandmother, uncle and aunt enter and take over her body and, in tragic or comic fashion, comment on her life, their earthly ones as well as the humble offerings she’s provided for them.

There’s a lot of potential in this work-in-progress. And the Vancouver-based Bang, whose show SELF-ish played the Fringe a couple of years ago, is masterful at morphing into the various characters. When she recounts a particularly traumatic episode in Sarah’s aunt’s life, for instance, Bang’s eyes well up with deep emotion.

Under Dawn Milman‘s direction, the stark presentation is engaging, with lively, if repetitive, use of bells for the audience to shake during the spirit-invoking sequences. And the final dance scene is beautifully suggestive.

But the script and through-line need development. It’s never clear what’s worrying Sarah. A bit more specificity about her current situation could make us understand why she’s looking to the past and her own troubled ancestors to heal herself and move forward.

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