There's a calm and quietness in writer/director Darren O'Donnell's pppeeeaaaccceee that turns 180 degrees from the frantic qualities of his earlier shows, White Mice and Boxhead. Although this new work has the same skilful blend of philosophical thoughtfulness and theatricality -- O'Donnell carries this off better than almost any other local writer -- an elegiac mood rules here, tempered by irony and subtle humour. Still, this isn't sit-back entertainment. Rather, it asks the audience to be alert and involved and even, by the end, to explore the actors' space.
His ensemble cast (Greg MacArthur, Ngozi Paul and Maiko Bae Yamamoto) handle the non-narrative text (about life before and after an unspecified revolution) and Sarah Chase's ritualistic movements with admirable ease. Imagine a dialogue about pumpkin seeds, love, the effects of clapping, a decline in the quality of conversation and other topics, created as a series of intellectual sandwiches -- that's another topic, by the way -- and spread over 80 minutes.
This Mammalian Diving Reflex show deserves more than its five performances in the Six Stages Festival, although it could make its point in an hour.