Where you sit makes all the difference!

Where you sit makes all the difference!

A man on a chair that towers over the heads of all around him has a different perspective on life – and “Chairs, a Parable”, the new play by Sebastien Archibald takes a radical approach to the idea of perspective.

The play starts simply enough – 3 guys are sitting on the floor – all equals, all sharing in the tasks and experiences that have gone before – and lie ahead. A shadow play behind them shows the passage of time – and evantually becomes a window on the world outside of the theatre stage.

Drawing heavily on works by Pinter – and with the occasional nod to Theatre of the Absurd, the actors in “Chairs” craftily draw the audience into their world view.

Once the first chair – with it’s drastic change in perception – comes on stage – the relationships between the 3 characters begins to change – in increasingly radical ways. At first it’s 2 on the floor against the one with the chair. But eventually it dawns on the 2 that they could build a 2nd chair, slightly shorter than the first one. But it isn’t clear which of them should get the ‘seat’.

Eventually, one is ‘promoted’, and now you have a ‘superior’, a ‘supervisor’ and a worker. The character in the middle position twists and turns trying to see the world from both sides – sometimes successfully – sometimes with very discouraging results.

To describe the play as facsinating would be an understatement. But it’s not just well performed, it asks important questions in a very approachable way. Throughout the whole play I kept thinking about how I look at life – am I guilty of looking at the world only from my point of view? I suspect that most of us do that without realizing it – so isn’t intriguing to watch a play that through the approachable conceit of chairs exposes our inability to recognize our own blinders.

“Chairs, A parable” being performed twice more here in Montreal – on Saturday June 22, 2013 and Sunday June 23, 2014. Make an effort to see it – you will not be disappointed.

Fringe at it’s Best – Alex Cross and his Rise to Fame

Going to Fringe is always a bit of a risk – particularly because the shows at the Montreal Fringe are not picked by a jury – they are pulled out of hats. So many out of the hat for Canadian productions, so many from the hat for English Productions, so many from the hat for French Productions, so many from the hat for Foreign Productions – you get the idea.

So how does a Fringe goer with limited time pick and choose from over 90 productions? There are tons of different methods. Some people go to a specific production because they know someone in the piece. Some people go because they read a review. Some people go because they heard good things from other Fringe goers. But I go because I like the location – and it fits my time slots!

Not perhaps the most scientific of methods, and I will admit to occasionally going based on Fringe goer reviewers, but I’ve rarely been disappointed. The Intrepid Traveler thinks that perhaps I’m too easy to please – but I think I just pick well!

In any case – I do like Mainline – it’s got lots of room for the performers – less room for the audience, and lousy toilets. But the sound quality is good, and the chairs are quite comfy. So – after being tossed out of 2 for Tea (so they were sold out – surely 3 ladies could have squeezed in) – I said – hey – Alex Cross – it’s at my favorite Theatre. So we hiked over, bought tickets and settled in.

The story of Alex Cross summarized in the play-bill – “A talentless loser’s drive for fame leads him to making a deal with the devil for his soul. Join Alex’s journey during his rise to fame until he learns the truth from a conspiracy theorist who attempts to expose the hidden satanic agenda behind the music industry.”

What they don’t tell you is how well the story is going to be told. There are 11 performers on stage – in addition to Alex, the Devil, and Gavin, the Conspiracy Theorist, there’s dancers that perform when Alex is on stage as back-up, there are women who act as the Devil’s handmaidens – dressed in extremely revealing fashion of course, there’s the ultimate bad guy Baphomet – and there’s a narrator. So lots to watch and see and enjoy.

The acting was good by Fringe standards – and ranged to excellent in the surprising cases of the Devil (straight-faced business man with an evil streak) and the Conspiracy Theorist. He’s so good that when he does his excellent speel to Alex on how the Devil is taking over the music industry – the audience applauded. So he bows – and then comments shamefaced to Alex – I often pretend that there is applause right there.

Too funny, too well done, and great Entertainment.

And they end the story in 3 different ways! I have no idea what endings 2 and 3 are – because we saw ending 1.