Mar. 30, 2011 - Issue #806 : Insidious
Sympathy for the devil
An Almost Perfect Thing is a dark accomplishment
This is a play with teeth. The three characters each present their own versions of biting need: troubled, inscrutable Mathew (David Ley) kidnaps Chloe (Tess Degenstein) in order to "teach her father a lesson." After escaping eight years later, Chloe decides to tell her story only to Greg (Frank Zotter), a has-been journalist who sees this "Miracle Girl" as his ticket to the fame he so desperately craves. Degenstein performs admirably in this very challenging role, though it was Zotter's candid, quick-lipped manner that stole the spotlight. As Mathew, Ley provides an eerie, introverted counterpart to the others' extroversion.
The script presents Chloe's stories concurrently: we see her hysterical at age 10, begging Mathew to release her, while at the same time calmly reciting this story to Greg eight years later—albeit describing a very different version of the events. There are obvious parallels in Chloe's relationships with these two men, which director Michael Clark's staging makes even more obvious, and though this may be a touch heavy-handed towards the play's finale—the dance scene in which Chloe twirls between the two men stretches on a bit too long—it also makes for a visually captivating performance.
The cat-and-mouse banter between Greg and Chloe starts out innocently enough, until the origins of this behaviour are revealed. At this point their repartee takes on a sinister undertone as the play's politics are brought to light: though this is at once a deeply personal story of trauma and need, it is also a criticism of the news and media industry, specifically its claim to ownership of the "truth" and the cutthroat, destructive ways in which it obtains this, which are inextricably tied to society's carnivorous desire for violence and sex.
In the end, the audience becomes party to the capturing of Chloe's story, leaving us to reflect upon the destructive, all-encompassing needs that reside within us all. V
Thu, Mar 24 – Sun, Apr 10 (7:30 pm)
Sunday matinees (2 pm)
An Almost Perfect Thing
written by NICOLE MOELLER
directed by MICHAEL CLARK
starring TESS DEGENSTEIN, DAVID LEY, FRANK ZOTTER
La Cité Francophone (8627 - 91 St)
$15 – $25
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