Canada House by J. Karol Korczynski, directed by Graham Cozzubbo, with Wendy Thatcher, Daniel Kash and Brian Marler. Presented by the Canada House Artistic Cooperative at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson). Runs to November 28, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2:30 pm. $25, November 28 and Saturday mats 2-for-1, November 21 pwyc. 416-504-7529. Rating: NN
The mission of the Canada House Collective, the producers behind J. Karol Korczynski 's play Canada House , sounds pretty noble. According to program notes, they want to revive the "social critical tradition" in theatre.
I'm not sure what that lofty phrase means, but it's got to amount to more than the fuzzy facts and crude histrionics in Korczynski's playwrighting debut.
The play follows three sleazy characters as they drink, sing karaoke and make shady deals in and around a now-defunct watering hole in Toronto. At least I think it's Toronto - we're told so in the program, though there's nothing in the script or production to suggest it.
Ray (Brian Marler) is a corporate thug who deals drugs, Louis (Daniel Kash) is his less polished but equally ambitious Quebecois underling, and Sally (Wendy Thatcher) is a phone-sex operator who's been around every seedy block.
So confusing is Korczynski's script - and Graham Cozzubbo 's production, including Lee Wildgen 's amateurish set - that it takes a long time to get oriented. Kash's bad French accent doesn't help, nor does the fact that there's little tension or character motivation until about 40 minutes in.
Korczynski, who peppers his script with references to the war and "social robotics," seems to want to say something about corruption, poverty and sellouts, but the script is so full of holes that the only thing that comes across is a simple vengeance plot.
The actors don't leave much of a mark, but I admire their ability to remember their lines when so much of the script seems disconnected.