HAVE I NONE by Edward Bond, directed by Lary Zappia (April Productions). At Captain John's Harbour Boat (1 Queens Quay West). To May 20. $20-$30. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Don't think that domestic disputes will be any different in 2077 than they are today. At least according to Have I None, Edward Bond's darkly comic, poetic and upsetting play set in a post-apocalyptic world where family and memory are verboten.
People still throw the past events at each other like projectiles, fighting over who sat in whose chair, who did what first and what the neighbours will think.
Director Lary Zappia's staging for April Productions is impressively disorienting, not least because of its venue: the hold of Captain John's Harbour Boat, with cracked portholes, rusted walls and bare light bulbs strung from the ceiling. The air seems to have a musty quality, its smell not quite right.
In Bond's Beckett-like, futuristic world, defined by suicide epidemics and strict government controls, we meet the couple Jams (Martin Julien) and Sara (Dragana Varagic), he a paramilitary guard concerned with maintaining the status quo and she a repressed woman who records the minutiae of their lives. Enter Grit (Dusan Dukic), who claims to be her brother, though Sara denies it.
The script, a combination of lyrical speeches and curt back-and-forth dialogue, gets an intimate performance, with the actors at close range to the audience; quietly intense moments alternate with fearful rages. Dukic is the subdued one, an outsider looking for comfort and inclusion. Varagic's laser-like concentration gives wonderful depth to Sara, while Julien's explosive outbursts over the smallest of details reveal the neurotic Jams's fear of change - he's more respectful of his leather coat than of his mate.
The room we're all pent up in - the production uses three performance levels - has a few drawbacks. Its echoing acoustics makes some lines hard to understand, while an actor's back occasionally hampers our sightlines.
Still, Have I None is strong theatre, both in the writing and the presentation.