C'MON ANGIE!

Touchstone Theatre, Firehall Arts Centre until June 9th

My Two Cents

By Daphne Cranbrook

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In Lauren Taylor’s director’s notes for Touchstone Theatre’s C’mon, Angie!, she mentions humanity’s innate yearning for the world to be black and white, for answers to be obvious, for good and bad to be clearly delineated. Taylor states that in this play, things are not that simple, that we must be okay with holding two “sometimes divergent and contradictory” truths in tandem. And it is that discomfort and unease that makes C’mon, Angie! so provocative and challenging.

 

The situation is familiar: Man sees woman alone at a bar. Man approaches woman. Flirty conversation and liberal imbibing ensues. Interaction moves to the woman’s apartment. Intimacy ensues. Man and woman fall asleep and wake up early the next morning. Woman accuses man of sexual assault.

 

If that didn’t go as you expected, welcome to Reed’s world.

 

Reed is a married father of one, with a successful chiropractic practice and a dog named Siobhan. His wife owns a pharmacy and employs Angela, the aforementioned Woman At Bar. After a night of drinking, the two find themselves in Angela’s small studio apartment, faced with this dilemma: Angela feels as though the activities of the past evening constitute rape, leaving Reed completely blindsided and bewildered by how their intimate interactions could have been experienced so differently. For the next hour or so, Reed and Angela discuss where to go from there, with him trying to convince her not to completely destroy his life, and Angela torn between being true to her experience of the situation or having sympathy on a man who seems truly oblivious.

 

This is a crunchy, gritty, uncomfortable sort of piece that asks the audience to see the humanity in someone we would rather quickly dismiss as a villain. Amy Lee Lavoie’s script is relentless, continuously prodding our assumptions about right, wrong, and the in-between. In Western society, in 2018, it’s no surprise to find a play that deals with the complexities and ugliness of sexual assault, but it is surprising to find one that does so with such a broad and complex viewpoint, one that won’t let us jump to easy answers.

 

C’mon, Angie! demands a lot from its two actors, Kayla Deorksen and Robert Moloney. Their mutual trust on- and offstage must be immense, a testament to the work the actors and Ms. Taylor have surely put in. Deorksen’s manic energy, heartbreaking vulnerability, and transparent internal battle are fully fleshed out in her portrayal of Angela, a tragic everywoman of sorts. Moloney’s Reed brings the depth and range needed in portraying a character that isn’t easy to pin down or make a final judgement on.

 

Sarah Mabberley’s set and Alaia Hamer’s costumes did what they needed to do, and not much more. The same goes for Adrian Muir’s lighting and Sammie Hatch’s sound design. In this show, it’s all about the content, so it felt appropriate to keep all other accoutrements minimal.

 

This play feels necessary. It feels important and unavoidable and needling and urgent. It is not easy viewing, not escapist theatre even in the very broadest sense. But it is necessary. Please see it.

Photo: Tim Matheson