When:To June 9
Where:Firehall Arts Centre
Tickets and info: $20-$27; firehallartscentre.ca
Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last fall, the #MeToo movement has become ubiquitous. Every day brings another tale of sexual harassment or assault by a powerful man against someone with less power, usually a woman.
These stories often involve situations that not long ago would have been tolerated or ignored, normalized as part of the business, as just the way things are between men and women. But now, not so much.
C’mon, Angie!, Touchstone Theatre’s new play by Amy Lee Lavoie, thrusts its audience right into the middle of a private #MeToo moment and invites us not only to judge — which everyone seeing this play will surely do — but also to listen very carefully to both parties, consider the circumstances and understand the consequences for both the man and woman.
They are Reed (Robert Moloney) and Angie (Kayla Deorksen), who have just spent the night in her bed after meeting in a bar. It was their first time, though they’re not strangers. He’s older, a married chiropractor with a young daughter. She’s single, works for Reed’s pharmacist wife and has been to their house for dinner.
He thinks they have had great, though maybe “awkward,” consensual sex. She accuses him of assaulting her. He’s astonished, asking if she’s joking, claiming not to know what she’s talking about. She’s not joking.
Reed tries desperately to get Angie to explain what she thinks happened, then, terrified, pleads with her to understand why she’s wrong. He could be faking his ignorance and confusion but Moloney’s beautifully modulated performance — abject, pathetic, boneheaded and always, in Reed’s own terms, perfectly reasonable — makes him pretty convincing.
Lavoie makes Angie initially less sympathetic, reinforced by Lauren Taylor’s direction and Deorksen’s abrasive performance. Angie withholds explanations in favour of sarcasm and gratuitous insults.
Little by little, though, she reveals what she understands to have happened. (I’ll avoid the details here; no spoilers.) Reed continues to plead innocent — you told me it was OK, my wife likes it when I do that to her — but Angie’s position gets clearer and stronger as the play goes on.
Deorksen never takes the easy route, never lets Angie ask for sympathy. She’s simply furious. Reed lists all the objective ways Angie could ruin his career, his family and his life if she accuses him publicly. Deorksen manages to give equal weight to what Angie feels: “A violation of my body.”
Neither character is a paragon. Their mutual narcissism allows them to ignore how their casual sex has betrayed Reed’s wife in so many ways. More than just the details of their sexual encounter are open to our interpretation.
At only 85 minutes (curiously shown us by an onstage digital clock), the play doesn’t dig deeply into biographical detail. But Taylor’s staging and Sarah Mabberley’s set and props give us enticing clues, like Angie’s breakfast of Fruit Loops with soya milk.
C’mon, Angie! is a thoughtful and provocative contribution to one of the most compelling issues of our time. See it with someone you care about, and be prepared to disagree passionately afterwards about what you both think you saw.
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