KITE written and directed by Rick Roberts, with Marjorie Campbell and Oliver Dennis. Presented by KCO at the Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman). Runs to May 23, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $22, Sunday pwyc. 416-531-1827. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Kite floats with an easy comic spirit over one of the facts hardest for human beings to accept - that we age and decay. But it also shows that while the body's not always functioning, the spirit keeps striving. Two century-old men in matching navy-blue suits meet in a park, one ( Oliver Dennis ) trying to extricate his kite from a tree, the other ( Marjorie Campbell ) setting up a picnic for a planned amatory assignation. The laconic former dislikes emotionalism, the bombastic latter gushes with it.
Marked externally by liver spots and warts, internally by invisible aches and pains, the pair argue and converse, creating some delightfully clownish episodes and touches of Grand Guignol humour about what it means to age and still yearn for life.
Writer/director Rick Roberts and the actors know how to tweak this material to make it both touching and funny. Dennis's figure spews tags of useless Shakespeare, Campbell's becomes disoriented when it thunders.
Roberts also plays lightly with established cultural imagery. There's a bit of Waiting For Godot in these two philosophical figures, while the captured kite (in a wonderfully fairy-tale tree) conjures up Charlie Brown's plight. Best of all, Roberts is adept at dealing in a gentle fashion - no lecturing here - with the human need to connect with others .