A BEAUTIFUL VIEW written and directed by Daniel MacIvor (da da kamera). At Buddies in Bad Times (12 Alexander). To May 21. Pwyc-$29. See Continuing in Theatre Listings. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
A Beautiful View is the final new work in the 20-year history of da da kamera , Daniel MacIvor 's and Sherrie Johnson 's groundbreaking theatre company. The title sums up da da's smart postmodern aesthetic. Few other companies have given us such a beautiful look at how much you can say about life - and art - with so little.
The production opens, like many of MacIvor's works, with a nearly bare set: a chair or two, a boom box, a fake plant and a tent. The elements are so precisely positioned, though, that one character says about the particular slant of the chair, "They'll think you don't like me."
Yes, the audience is In On It, to borrow the title of another MacIvor play, a companion piece to this one. And the two characters played by Caroline Gillis and Tracy Wright are, like lost souls wandering in from a clever adaptation of Our Town, resurrecting their history for a roomful of witnesses.
The two meet at an outdoor equipment store, flirt, part, meet up again, spend the night together and then drift apart, only to meet at a campsite much later. After that, although neither identifies as a lesbian, they become a couple. Sort of.
The fact that MacIvor, his actors and designers manage to suggest so much about the couple's life together is astonishing.
We in the audience get to fill in the gaps, imagine the truths beneath the characters' various lies and the mystery that draws them together.
Gillis and Wright are experts at communicating emotional subtext, and they have a chemistry together that you can't force or fake. MacIvor mixes up the rhythms so well that poignant moments can turn into comic ones, and vice versa.
Next season, Buddies remounts three of MacIvor's (and da da kamera's) most acclaimed shows. In the meantime, enjoy the Beautiful View while you can.