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Artefakt Studio – Sara

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It was my day off yesterday, and out of the blue, I was offered a free ticket to a
play in exchange for a review. As I am someone who enjoys saying yes to
random shows, I found myself later that evening at The Red Sandcastle Theatre.
The show of the evening was ‘Sara’, written by and starring Magalie R. Bazinet, directed by Jessie Nadeau, and Co-starring Florent Deschenes.

The play opens with club music and a well-performed pole dance. Followed by a backstage scene with Sara scribbling some lines in a book of her poetry. She is soon interrupted by Mike, her boss and “boyfriend”, though it’s made pretty clear that Sara has moved out of his place recently and into her brother’s. We also learn that Mike has skipped out of rehab after only 2 weeks but, of course, wants her to come back; “It’ll be better… promise.” Sara dismisses him stating she needs more time.

We next see her home life with her wasted, lazy, but ultimately caring brother, Billy. We see from there her tentative foray into finding an open mic, crushing her very first performance. Too quickly from there she’s offered an amazing opportunity and has to deal with how it clashes with the controlling and oppressive nature of her work with Mike.

The staging is fairly simple: the stage is split between a couch to represent Sara’s home, a dressing room with desk, mirror and chair for work, and a pole further stage left. The Slam poetry and private room moments take place in-between the home and backstage work areas respectively. The actors change onstage and move very quickly from scene to scene.

34782958_10211952533263810_726075598757167104_nI was very impressed with the two performers; they did an excellent job last night. Magalie R. Bazinet’s Sara came across to me as someone really trying move forward with her life. She balanced well between her distant and guarded nature at work and her more vulnerable side at home and in the performance of her poetry. The slam poetry was earnest and powerful. I was also very impressed with Florent Deschenes’ performance as he plays Mike, Billy, and Jer and succeeds at making them all interesting and unique characters through the use of voice and movement work. I really felt that these were different people on stage as he switched from character to character.

The main issue that I ran into on the technical side was the subtitling. The projection froze up a couple of times, though I certainly could still feel what was going on. Due to the length of the stage and I also struggled with constantly having to turn my head away from the performance to read them.

I do feel it necessary to include a trigger warning, as this show has a very distinct scene of assault, sexual assault, and rape. The violence, coordinated by Tomas Lorbar, told the story of the scene effectively but I would have liked to have seen cues of the choreo tightened so that the fight could have better flowed between the characters without the performers having to wait for each other.

Although the show is very well performed and the moments of poetry really showcase Magalie’s slam poetry background, there is something lacking in the story. I just didn’t buy her getting the kind of opportunity that she does after just one open mic. It would have been nice to see her work on her poetry and struggle and ultimately succeed without the added context of the male characters.

This show is good in its current form, but could definitely benefit from some re-working of plot.

Catch this show over the weekend. For more information, click right over HERE.