BLIND SUBMISSION created and performed by Dmitry Chepovetsky, Jenn Griffin, Liesl Lafferty and Heidi Waters (Chaos Collective). At the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). To February 25. $20, some pwyc. 416-588-0988. See Continuing, page 66. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Inspired by a parlour game concocted by the surrealist poets, Blind Submission mashes up works by three playwrights from as many cities. A fourth artist dramaturges and directs. The playwrights - who initially don't know what the others have penned - perform.
In theory, it's a novel concept, drawing on themes of chance, chaos and happy accidents. In practice? Think a writer's workshop run amok, or a trio sampler of moderately engaging Fringe plays.
Performing on a bare stage with two chairs and a bench, T.O.'s Dmitry Chepovetsky joins Vancouver's Jenn Griffin and Montreal's Heidi Waters , while Winnipeg director/dramaturge Liesl Lafferty hands out the programs.
For 75 minutes, the actors wander through and around the stories. One's about a Vancouver woman's visit to California to see her movie-star friend; another concerns a single woman who works as a rescuer of suicide jumpers off a Vancouver bridge; the third deals with a Jewish man from the prairies who's created an alter ego to deal with his homosexuality.
Predictably, there are huge shifts in tone, and if onstage fumbling is any indication, it's difficult for the actors and audience to keep the narrative strands straight. It's a shame that the single prop (a flashlight) used by all three performers shines so little light on the artists' intentions.
Still, taken individually, the stories have some power, and the performers are stronger actors than writers. Chepovetsky's known to Toronto audiences, but the raspy-voiced Griffin is a real find, whether she's playing a distraught former addict wallowing in loss or a Jewish mother who only wants the best for her son.