HERE LIES HENRY by Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks, directed by Brooks (Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander). To October 15. Pwyc-$35. 416-975-8555. See Continuing, page 98. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Great art is full of truth, but it's also full of lies. Give us the right details and we'll believe anything.
As they prove in the remount of their teasingly titled Here Lies Henry , Daniel MacIvor (performer/co-writer) and Daniel Brooks (director/co-writer) are two of the best liars around.
MacIvor plays Henry, a self-conscious man on a bare stage who, over the course of about 75 minutes, tells jokes about public speaking, educates us on the various kinds of lies and grudgingly delivers details about his life that, of course, may or may not be true.
Like many of MacIvor's da da kamera works this is one of three that's set for a remount this season at Buddies much of the fun comes from witnessing an incredible juggling act. MacIvor tosses images and scenes in the air, picks them up again later and then (careful!) lobs them out to the audience.
Yes, we've got to be on our toes. Each twitch of his face, each nervous tic, each half truth communicates something, and it's up to the audience to figure out what that is.
Was there, for instance, a big fire, and did Henry start it? Is he responsible for the body in the next room? Is his name even Henry?
If all this sounds way too cerebral, don't worry. It's all done in a playful way, full of amusing routines and jokes. MacIvor's bravura riff on the things you're not supposed to do when speaking in public, for instance, is so beautifully timed it's like an extended jazz solo.
A MacIvor/Brooks play is as much about the production as text and performance. A shaft of light and sound cue do as much work as a line of dialogue.
What's so thrilling about this particular show is how Andy Moro 's lighting design, which goes from darkness to sudden light at the start and light to gradual darkness at the end, mirrors one of the show's central themes.
Come to think of it, those are the basic lighting cues for a typical play. So this play is also about theatre itself. But you knew that already, clever people, didn't you?