Terminus at the Belfry Theatre SPARK Festival 2014. A review.

Terminus at the Belfry Theatre SPARK Festival 2014. A review.

Terminus at the Belfry Theatre SPARK Festival is a mind-trip, a fever-pitched ride through the lives of three (+one) lonely souls—comprised of intersecting and criss-crossing stories that would appeal to fans of H. P. Lovecraft and the great Irish poets—of old and contemporary.

Terminus 2These are bleak visions of individuals seeking redemption and connection in a world—sometimes of their own making—that has cast them off and out.  O’Rowe’s characters live on the edges, yet are avid for adventure, and filled with dreams, hopes and longings.

Terminus (by Toronto’s Outside The March Theatre Company) re-defines the mainstage theatrical experience—even if the current production—unlike Toronto where the audience was seated onstage with the performers—takes a more typical approach.  The three performers are solitary story tellers driven to expunge and explain.  Language swoops and dives, travels far and wide—through time, space and memory—with crystal clear and violent imagery that shocks and captivates at the same time.

Life is not easy, tidy or convenient for A (Sarah Dodd), B (Nicola Elbro) or C (Adam Lazarus); moved and compelled by forces at-times outside themselves. The actors succeed at the monumental task of delivering and propelling the language at a vertiginous rate while retaining the original Irish accents (Dialect Coach Eric Armstrong) and musicality—prodigious indeed. Much needed clarity was ever-present and did great tribute to O’Rowe’s script.

The audience is witness to tales of colossal proportions—there’s an aura common to all good storytelling; a sense of collective witness, made all the stronger by the lighting choices of designer Nick Blais.  Actors are strategically back, side and under-lit to suggest other dimensions—and even—flickering fires we have gathered around.

Music (Richard Feren) pulses, throbs and wails—setting a grim tone that continues to underlie the tales.

O’Rowe is an Irish writer and screenwriter, known for the award-winning Howie the Rookie and films Boy A, Intermission and Broken.  Fans of compatriot Martin McDonagh (Pillowman (Theatre Inconnu-2008), In Bruges) or British performance poets (and Fringe favourites) Steve Larkin (TES-Victoria Fringe 2013) and Jem Rolls will appreciate the darkness and twisted humour that populates Terminus.

The best theatre is not always comfortable; when I look back on my experiences, those that stick in my mind or niggle away at my thoughts have often been troubling in nature, taking me far outside myself to worlds beyond my ken.  Terminus joins this panoply.

Imagine a Tarantino film set to poetry. A mother with a heavy conscience races to save a near-stranger from an anarchic band of lesbians. A daughter finds comfort, sex and even love in the “arms” of a disembodied soul. And a dangerous loner prowls Irish pubs, longing to belt Bette Midler for all to hear. TERMINUS explores the darkness that insecurity drives us to, and the light which comes from shedding who we’ve been, and accepting who we are.

Terminus by Mark O’Rowe
Outside The March Theatre Company (Toronto)
Directed by Mitchell Cushman
 Belfry Theatre SPARK Festival
March 18-22, 2014
Tickets $20 at the Belfry Theatre Box Office online, in person or by phone

Sarah Dodd
as A
Nicola Elbro as B
Adam Lazarus as C

Director           Mitchell Cushman
Production Designer    Nick Blais
Music & Sound Designer          Richard Feren
Stage Manager             Bryn McLeod
Dialect Coach               Eric Armstrong
Producer          Katherine Devlin Rosenfeld
Associate Producers    Ava Jane Markus, Amy Keating
Poster Illustration & Design     Chloe Cushman

Disclaimer: I was offered complimentary tickets to Terminus.  As always, I retain full editorial control over all content published on this website.

About @lacouvee

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I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


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