I AM YOURS by Judith Thompson, directed by Christopher Morris, with Ben Clost, Adrian Churchill, Caroline Gillis, Diane Hollingsworth, Tracey Ferencz and William Webster. Equity Showcase (651 Dufferin). Runs to December 8, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. Suggested minimum donation $10. 416-533-6100, ext 52. Rating: NNN
At her best, there's no more emo-tionally intense Canadian playwright than Judith Thompson. Her 1987 script I Am Yours is both harrowing and poetic.A play about emotional fixations, I Am Yours focuses on the obsessive love of Toilane (Ben Clost) for Dee (Tracey Ferencz); the first sight of her convinces him that she's to be his life partner and mother of his children. He doesn't know -- and wouldn't care -- that she's estranged from her husband, Mack (Adrian Churchill), and that her needy sister Mercy (Caroline Gillis) has come to stay.
Christopher Morris directs a striking production, with a design by Gillian Gallow lit by Daryl Cloran that encloses the audience in a white tent above the action, as if it were taking place in an old-fashioned operating chamber. He's given it a dreamlike -- well, nightmarish -- quality that suits the disturbing material, with the characters asleep as we enter. If he doesn't mine all the writing's dark comedy, he still gets some grim laughs.
His cast is almost uniformly fine, led by Clost's firebrand Toilane and Ferencz's Dee, the queen of push/pull relationships. Gillis's desperate, masochistic Mercy catches the character's hysterical drive to connect with some other person, beginning years before with the Humbert Humbertish Raymond (William Webster), while Churchill's Mack is the play's calmest figure, thrown off-centre by those around him. The only weak link is Diane Hollingsworth, who needs more fearsomeness and weight as Toilane's protective mother.