HOUSE by Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks, directed by Brooks (Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander). To April 1. Pwyc-$30. 416-975-8555. . Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
House was the first Daniel MacIvor "solo" play I ever saw, although now I know that there's no such thing. Director/co-creator Daniel Brooks , the ace design team and producer Sherrie Johnston contribute as much as the man on the near-empty stage.
More than 15 years after that first encounter, it's even more thrilling to move into this House .
MacIvor has evolved as a performer, while the narrative skill with which he wove this tale was less sophisticated than it became in later works. The lines are a bit deeper on the face, and the hair's a little thinner, making his sad-sack protagonist Victor a bit more painful and poignant to watch.
After MacIvor-as-Victor's swaggering entrance, he introduces us to his "fucked-up" (his phrase) existence, regaling us with stories within stories about his father, his wife (who's also his cousin), his therapy group and his battleground of an office, where he's been toiling away for 12 years virtually unnoticed by his boss.
Finally, he gets an opportunity to invite his boss to his house, and let's just say things don't go the way he hopes they will.
As in many of MacIvor's works with da da kamera, which marks its end with this remount, House is about secrets and lies. The audience sifts through plots and punchlines looking for the truth, the mystery of why that man up there is recounting his life.
At the heart of the play is Victor's need for camaraderie. MacIvor and company are good at deconstructing the signs of male bonding, whether it's a firm handshake or a gruff punch to the chest.
Each sound cue, each shaft of light and each funny-disturbing line contributes to the experience of this fully three-dimensional House.