Turks And Infidels written and directed by Rochelle Douris, with Noelle Scorrano, Leni Parker, Michael Lista and Tim Post. Presented by the Upper Canada Repertory Company at the Jane Mallett (27 Front East). Runs to June 8, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Saturday-Sunday 2 pm. $19-$25. 416-366-7723. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Turks And Infidels takes the award for most overwritten play of the year. At two and a half hours, it begins with a funeral, explores the politics of midwifery, keeps mentioning hockey, uncovers infidelity and features a bunch of theatre types, one of whom only speaks lines from Shakespeare.Problem is, it's not a dark comedy, as that laundry list might imply. It's an earnest patched-together piece that tries to find profundity in plot and symbol rather than character.
Playwright Rochelle Douris seems so concerned to find links between, say, the problems of a modern midwife (Earth: Final Conflict's Leni Parker, delivering a droll stand-up routine) and the tragic career of former NHL player Derek Sanderson that she completely ignores the specifics of any characters.
Strangely, the play's protagonist, widow Anne (Noelle Scorrano), seems wholly unconcerned about the mental state of her eight-year-old daughter Susanna (Jade Douris), even though the poor girl's walking around in gowns as Ophelia.
What's tragic is that Douris the writer has talent. A story about New York comes alive, and there's weaselly charm in her writing for an opportunistic young actor (Michael Lista).
Tim Post displays a gruff confidence and Giovanna Carrubba fascinates with a tiny, focused scene as a counsellor, but they're swamped by a cluttered script that avoids any emotional truths (note the pretentious title from Richard II) by bom-Bard-ing us into boredom.