SIMPLY TOLD written and directed by Corrina Hodgson, with Terrence Bryant and Lesley Dowey. Presented by Alien Gaze at Factory Mainspace. Aug 4 at 8 pm, Aug 5 at 5 pm, Aug 8 at 11 pm, Aug 10 at 9:30 pm, Aug 11 at 6:30 pm, Aug 12 at 5 pm. Rating: NNNNN
Not all family tragedy has the proportion of Greek drama.
Take Joseph and his daughter Janice, who are having a seemingly small-talk conversation about their history and their future. Worked into their memories and accounts of daily events is a sense of something larger, undiscussed, that's keeping them apart.
Simply Told involves an act of violence (don't worry, there's no spoiler here) that affects the lives of the characters and those around them.
"It's been hard to find a balance between the play's moral compass and the statement that its action makes," sighs writer Corrina Hodgson , who penned the SummerWorks show Unbecoming several years ago.
"I worry every so often about my inclination to write non-feminist feminist pieces, where an ethically grey character becomes sympathetic. Yet we've worked very hard, without imposing it, to have a moral code that neither advocates nor turns a blind eye toward violence."
Nonetheless, the piece is also a tender father/daughter story, written partly as monologue and partly as dialogue. As the two characters try to communicate, you get a sense of two solitudes brushing up against each other.
"I didn't consciously write the script as interrupted monologues, though it feels now like the dialogue breaks into the monologues and vice versa," explains Hodgson, who's also directing. "It's been a challenge to find the right balance between the internal and the external, but the piece is really about the desire of these two people to reach out to one another.
"The trouble is, they're both too scared to do so, and when they get too close they retreat to familiar patterns. In Joseph's case, it's telling invented stories about their history; in Janice's, it's rehashing her analysis and trying to make sense of her personal history with a father she wants to love."
Hodgson's grateful that she's been working with the same two actors, Terrence Bryant and Lesley Dowey , since a shorter version of the piece appeared in Rhubarb! 2005.
"The show has grown organically through the performers," she says. "It's one of those plays that's involved all three of us creating. It's never been a matter of "Here are the lines I've written for you; come onstage and say them. '"