MONSTER by Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks, directed by Daniel Brooks (da da kamera). At Buddies in Bad Times (12 Alexander). To February 4. Pwyc-$35. 416-975-8555. See Continuing, page 65. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
If feeling stuck in one spot brings out the worst in you, you should see what it does to Daniel MacIvor . In the one-person show he co-created with director Daniel Brooks in 1998, the amazing MacIvor performs with his feet firmly planted centre stage for most of 75 minutes.
Monster explores the monstrous ways humans treat one another and how low we can sink. The piece begins and ends with Adam, who introduces a variety of characters facing death, addiction, rejection and faltering relationships.
MacIvor's male characters come across more vividly than his women. Naive Janine sounds like a female character from an old Kids In The Hall episode funny for sketch comedy but not compelling for drama. But when teenaged Monty tells a story of mutilation and torture, MacIvor so becomes him, you see the acne sprouting on his chin. And although recovering alcoholic Joe's monologue drags at first, you can't turn away from his mesmerizing, dramatic meltdown.
Lighting and sound unite with startling force. The show opens in a darkness and silence so absolute, you feel like you've been sucked 30 feet underground. Throughout, Richard Feren 's sound effects and music intensify feelings of fear and revulsion, and Andy Moro 's inventive lighting uses projections and shadows to visually stretch, shrink and duplicate the actor when he simultaneously portrays several characters.
Monster's message leaves you hopeless, but the production assures you that the indomitable theatrical Daniels are anything but.