THE END OF PRETENDING written, performed and directed by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman and Emily Sugerman. Presented by Emchar at the Factory Upstairs. August 3 and 11 at 7 pm, August 4 at 4:30 pm, August 5 at 3 pm, August 7 at 9 pm, August 8 at 8:30 pm, August 9 at 11 pm. Rating: NNNNN
Does art have the power to heal?Young writers Emily Sugerman and Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman are finding out as they write and perform The End Of Pretending, one of the delights of last spring's Paprika Festival for artists under 20.
Then both 15 years old -- they met in kindergarten -- the two spent the summer of 1999 in Blyth, living with Corbeil-Coleman's dying mother, novelist Carole Corbeil. They began working on a play about their favourite writers, Brontë sisters Emily and Charlotte, authors, respectively, of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
"We began writing about the Brontës, whose names we share, but it was ridiculous to ignore what was happening to us as well," says Corbeil-Coleman. "The Brontës lost their mother to cancer and spent their isolated childhood creating incredible worlds and games that we related to.
"Our play combines their story, our fascination with them and our own feelings during a summer when we were growing up and losing our innocence -- drinking at parties, learning to French kiss and dealing with my mother's illness."
The summer was wonderful in so many ways, she adds, that the pair didn't want the play just to be about sadness.
After presenting it in Paprika and the Tarragon Spring Arts Fair, Corbeil-Coleman admits she's just now getting to the point where she can distance herself from the material in performance.
"I want to find a place where it feels good to perform it and not have it be so draining," she muses. "Next week we're living and rehearsing in the house where we spent that summer. I think that will help heal me, help separate me from the material. The play has been a real gift."