Skip to main content

And So It Goes - George F. Walker's new play at Factory Theatre Toronto

And So It Goes
Written & Directed by George F. Walker
Starring Martha Burns, Peter Donaldson, Jerry Franken & Jenny Young
Factory Theatre, Toronto

Continues to February 28

George F. Walker's latest play, And So It Goes, unfolds in a succession of brief scenes, and it's that format - and the flashes of humour in the superbly written dialogue - that keep the piece from becoming too dark. It is, after all, dark material that it explores. Ned (Donaldson) has lost his job at an age where few are willing to look at him, and in an era where the opportunities are few to begin with. His daughter Karen (Young) is locked in a druggy schizophrenic hell where brushes with police and the judicial system have become routine. Gwen, (Burns) the wife and mother, tries to carry on through sheer will and the help of her own secret therapist, the ghost of none other than Kurt Vonnegut (Franken). Son Alex, who appears only in mention, left the scene long ago. (Donaldson - standing, and Burns consult with Franken's Vonnegut in the image.)

Things go from bad to worse. The house they live in becomes a series of ever smaller apartments, Ned flunks chef school and Karen runs away, disappears to go back to hooking on the street, where the police don't even try to find her anymore, until she turns up as yet another sad statistic. So what do you do when when the very underpinnings of your life give way, and you're left with nothing but despair and a palpable sense of grief? (Young as Karen in the image.)

It must be something of a challenge as an actor to so fully flesh out your role in the brief scenes and snippets of dialogue in Walker's play, but the casting here is virtually perfect. Donaldson and Burns, both veterans of the stage, don't have a false note as the parents who go from trying to manage and move on to simply trying to get through the day, morphing from middle class respectability to dirty denizens of the street and homeless shelters. Jenny Young turns in a wonderful performance as Karen, showing us the sad, confused soul inside the craziness. Franken has perhaps the hardest role of all, since his imaginary character is a reflection of those who imagine him, and provides much of the play's humour in the role of the self satisfied auteur. They're aided by an ingenious minimalist set design by Shawn Kerwin, consisting of a dimensional backdrop that handily switches from living room to park to street side and homeless shelter with a few props here and there. (The wall that was postered with Reg Hartt notices was my favourite touch!)

The house was deservedly packed for opening night. It's gritty, but not depressing, and while I wouldn't exactly go as far as to call it uplifting, it does speak to the strength of the human spirit, to that determination to continue and find purpose in life in the face of the worst of it. Walker's script is nuanced and keenly observant of human nature. You'll laugh as you sympathize, and you really must see it.

All the images are by Ed Gass-Donnelly, courtesy of Factory Theatre.

Comments

  1. Best theater play however the death of the main character was too sudden

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

What Else Is Hot This Week?

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

 From a media release: World Premiere FACTORY presents  ACTS OF FAITH by David Yee Directed by Nina Lee Aquino Starring Natasha Mumba November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM Streamed live for 6 performances Free of charge TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020.  Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond. acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a ques

Blues Single | Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020)

Blues Single Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020) Stream It From Your Fave Service Waiting is the latest in a string of singles released by Bushwick Blooze Band. The Brooklyn-based blues trio have been performing and recording the blues around the NYC area since 2018. Their first album "Cryin' for the L Train" was released in January 2019, and included covers of famous songs composed by their greatest influencers such as Little Richard, The Allman Brothers Band, Freddie King, and Eddie Vinson.  Bushwick Blooze Band is finishing up the production of their second album "Yes Dear" and unlike the previous cover record, this new album will be their first original contribution to the genres they love. Waiting is an upbeat blues track with a party kind of veneer over solid musicianship. What begins with a classic blues feel transforms into an extended psychadelic flavoured trip. Inventive guitar licks almost make you forget about the virtuosity

Experimental Solo Guitar | Dan Pitt: Monochrome (Independent / September 4 2020)

Experimental Solo Guitar Dan Pitt: Monochrome (Independent / September 4 2020) Buy it on Bandcamp Toronto guitarist and composer Dan Pitt explores new ground in Monochrome, a recent release. The compositions for solo guitar each take a different approach. Pitt's musical imagination is inventive. Ghosts is contemplative, criss-crossing the line between jazz and classical music, and in and out of tonality. It has an interestingly eerie effect. The piece contrasts with Attraction and its buzzy, erratic energy that bursts into spurts of lightening quick notes. He returns to a more conventional contemporary jazz idiom in The Sorrow - but one that ends with an intriguing twist on the form. Long Lake is a classic acoustic guitar track, folky and melodic. Ditto is a standout, a distinctly contemporary exploration of contrapuntal melodies that at times sounds like a murmur of voices. Which Way Is Up is another highlight of the release with its elegant approach to minimalism. Electronic effe

CD Release: TriBeCaStan's New Deli Breaks the Time/Space Continuum in New Deli (Feb 7)

From a media release: New Release from Little Known Government of TriBeCaStan : Capital New Deli Found to Have Irregular Time-Space Continuum EverGreene Music - February 7, 2012 TriBeCaStan: News Alert. This morning Aljazzeera reported that the questionable nation of TriBeCaStan ( www.tribecastan.tv ) has made scientific breakthroughs in time travel. The unrecognized republic of nomads has broken the code of the time/space continuum. And by broken we mean: it no longer works. Applying sonic techniques once only known to a small group of punk rock shamans, the nation's most prestigious scientific entity, the TriBeCaStani FolkLorkEstra, uses sound alone to simultaneously place listeners in eras separated by decades and terrains separated by oceans. The breakthrough is outlined in an auditory compendium titled New Deli (distributed by the state-run EverGreene Music, set for release February 7, 2012 ), a recording that allows the world to experience a type of soulful networking mor

Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 Online - PWYC

 From a media release: Batuki Music Society and Alliance Francaise Toronto present A virtual concert featuring Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 at 8:00 PM Enjoy the concert from home! K inshasa’s vibrant nightlife has long been world-famous. It is home to the subculture known informally as the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People (SAPEUR), which has spread its influence through artists such as Papa Wemba. Blaise La Bamba is part of this scene. He has worked with some of the top names of Congolese music, in particular General Defao. I n 2018, Blaise La Bamba founded Kotakoli , an all-star collective of musicians that perform an energetic mix of Congolese rumba and soukous . In the company of Kotakoli, this veteran musician brings Congolese popular music back to the forefront, with spellbinding dances. The Details Date: Saturday November 7th, 2021  Blaise La Bamba and Kotakoli Virtual Concert Time: 8:00 PM Tickets: Pay what you can This concert is offered to you