From the Montreal fringe. Intersecting plots and immersive storytelling in “Displaced” by Ground Cover Theatre
Reviewed by Kat Fournier
June 13, 2015 Saturday at 4:41 pm
Three women from three seperate histories–different countries and eras entirely–intersect in Ground Cover Theater’s Displaced. Each has reached a moment where leaving their homes for the greener pastures of Canada has become essential to their survival. And though their stories are independent from one another, here, they have been woven together in a story that portrays the trials faced by lone women who arrive to Canada as refugees.
Mary (Katie Moore) flees the Irish Famine in the 1840s, Sofia (Anna Mazurik) arrives from Germany in the 1940s after her Jewish husband dies in a camp, and Dara (Emma Laishram) must leave Afghanistan to avoid persecution after refusing an arranged marriage. And though their stories are disparate, playwrights Natasha Martina and Sue Mythen use overlayed monologues and corporeal sequences to indicate a shared theme amongst the three women. Each leaves terrible tragedy behind, and struggles in a new life as a persecuted outsider.
The dance-like movement sequences throughout the play add depth to an otherwise heavily textual performance and allow the audience to access the more liminal aspects of these women’s experiences; from hope to dispair, disorientation to new-found purpose. It is a nuanced and effective play that succeeds in portraying a commonality between these three women. Strong performances by Moore, Mazur and Laishram offer a truly moving experience, though the concept feels plodding at times due to its structural reliance on a repetitive cycle of story interpolated with sequences of movement.
It is a play that is poignant, thoughtful, and unfortunately, all too relevant in an age where the lessons of the past can be forgotten so easily.