IN PROPER MEASURE written and directed by Jason Gileno, with David Bajurny, Michael Kash, Craig Lauzon and Faradee Rudy. Presented by East Hill Productions at the Canadian Stage Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley). Runs to June 2, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm. $25. 416-368-3110. Rating: NN
in jason gileno's hyperbolic in Proper Measure, female beauty equals criminality (which sucks if you just paid for your gym membership).
Alexandra (Faradee Rudy), a gorgeous librarian on the run from a bum murder rap, shows up in a one-bench town in search of blind tattoo artist Joint (Michael Kash). She needs his blindness and he needs her sight; he sees the real her, and she sees the beauty in his ridiculed work. Together they make an honest male/female connection in a world where art and the female form are commodities.
Alexandra seeks the tattoo as disguise. She doesn't want to be beautiful, because men do dumb things like divorce their wives for the sake of her face. But Joint, as impotent as his dead goldfish, Apollo, can't disguise Alexandra's beauty or his own male desire.
Gileno's script, equal parts university lecture on feminism, male apology for female objectification and satire of popular culture, is well-intentioned and has a certain energy, but it verges on the dogmatic and naive.
Craig Lauzon injects much-needed relief. He delights in the roles of the French Canadian recipient of one of Joint's expressionistic tattoos, the syrupy, condescending talk-show host and the J-Lo-photo-flashing plastic surgeon in full clown dress.
Sparse staging and minimal effects draw attention to the performances, which, except for Lauzon's, are inescapably wooden because of textbook dialogue.
Women cannot win in this play, and the men don't fare much better.