Post-Democracy at Tarragon Theatre

Theatre sometimes takes us into worlds we don’t like, showing us people we’d avoid, situations we might never encounter otherwise. In some respects theatre is like a conceptual hazmat suit, a way to taste poison without dying. We may cower before horrific headlines but drama lets us really see what’s involved.

Chantelle Han and Jesse LaVercombe (Photo: Mike Meehan)

Hannah Moscovitch’s Post-Democracy opened tonight in the Tarragon main space, putting four people onstage for an hour of sparring, groping, sniping, that sometimes got us to laugh when we were not cringing.

I read the playwright’s urgent words in the program, when she says

“We talk a lot about the 1% who hold and exert power in in our culture. We don’t get to meet them much. They are being helicoptered above us, or they have bought out a whole floor in a hotel we couldn’t afford, or they’re staying on a secluded “Jeffrey Epstein ” island offshore somewhere that they own. I hung around with the 1% for a while in my 20s. I listened to how they talk. I saw how they live. I want to show them to you.”

I think I’m as concerned about the world we live in as she is, upset to see our Premier building a highway for his pals, making new rules for governance to ignore the will of the people, while he and the mayors run everything via a few phonecalls. We’re on the cusp of a post-democratic world, under the thumb of corporations making enormous profits while the average person struggles.

I’m very impressed with the quality of the dialogue, with superb performances by four actors (Chantelle Han, Rachel Cairns, Jesse LaVercombe and Diego Matamoros) and with the sensitivity of director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu. It’s an hour of well-crafted theatre.

Chantelle Han and Diego Matamoros (Photo: Mike Meehan)

Yet I wonder if the playwright has seen the series Succession, as what I saw onstage tonight seemed like an episode from that show. I won’t spoil anything by making comparisons except to say that I hope Moscovitch hasn’t seen the show and is merely coming up with parallel plot twists to the ones in the series. Perhaps that’s merely to be extrapolated from the corrupt dynamics of any rich family.

All the same, it’s very well done. Jesse LaVercombe is especially unsettling to watch, creating someone truly creepy so believably. It helps that his part is very well written. His relationships are well thought out, the timing of his behaviour very sensitively crafted.

There are some fascinating moral questions lurking in the text. It’s a short play, taking us into a dark place. It feels authentic throughout.

Post-Democracy runs until December 4th at Tarragon Theatre’s Mainspace.

This entry was posted in Dance, theatre & musicals, Politics, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Post-Democracy at Tarragon Theatre

  1. Pingback: Pre-Democracy with Lucio Silla | barczablog

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