July 2005

The Stronger... A Variation
(adapted from August Strindberg's The Stronger)
Conceived and directed by Allyson McMackon
July 6 – July 17, 2005Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse / The FringeToronto
by David Fujino
It's Christmas Eve, and a woman meets a female friend by chance in a café. Through the course of their meeting, the woman discovers that her friend is mistress to her husband.

Is the woman stronger if she speaks? Or is she a stronger person if she remains silent? What makes the wife different from the mistress?

Such matters of sexual jealousy and psychological warfare are familiar themes in a Strindberg play.

Instead, we saw a set of eight variations that was choreographed more than dramatized and was very sketchily written. With next to no dialogue, but filled with recorded music, dancing, and plenty of 'physicalization', the three performers in black cocktail dresses could have easily walked right out of a Broadway production.

Clearly, the director's plan was to tell the story through the considerable dancing and acting abilities of the three female performers, but this meant that the play — and surely 'the play's the thing' — failed to deliver characters that engaged us, and missed out on bringing depth to its themes.

In a way, it was all quite 'cute', charming, and a taste of Strindberg Light.

Wife/Mistress A: Liza Balkan
Wife/Mistress B: Viv Moore
Wife/Mistress C: Lucy Rupert
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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