Reviewed by Natasha Lomonossoff
Reviewed on Thursday, February 8 by Natasha Lomonossoff
As the financial security of millennials is an oft-discussed problem, one would think that coming up with a way to present this topic in an original light would be a challenge. Yet Little Boxes, a production at the undercurrents theatre festival created by Gabrielle Lazarovitz and Brad Long, manages to do just that both ingeniously and meaningfully. The 65-minute play, skillfully directed by Adam Paolozza, asks tough questions about the situations we find ourselves in, as well as how much responsibility we have for the welfare of others.
The play opens with a young couple, Lauren and Paul (portrayed by Lazarovitz and Carter Hayden respectively), whose lives are irreparably changed when they hit something on the road. Reluctant and scared to discover what it was, their memories flash before their eyes; these memories reveal their precarious living situation and each of the different events which led up to this moment. The memories are re-enacted effectively by Lazarovitz and Hayden, who each perfectly capture the frustration and inertia of being underemployed and barely making enough money for next month’s bills. Through both the memories which play out onstage and their breaking of the fourth wall to ‘explain’ themselves to the audience, the actors also succeed in garnering sympathy for the couple. Both the lighting by Giuseppe Condello and sound by Simon Labelle also shine in this production, providing appropriate atmosphere for certain scenes and dramatic moments.
The question of whether Lauren and Paul are single-handedly responsible for the accident they caused is one that echoes throughout the play. Though it is never given a clear-cut answer, the scene when Paul asks why he should be responsible to look after others when there’s no one to look after him hints that more factors (such as the current economic climate) are at fault. Although Little Boxes offers no happy resolutions, it is one which nonetheless compels the viewer to think hard about how one’s circumstances, especially those of millennials, influences their actions and outlook.
Little Boxes is currently playing at the undercurrents theatre festival at Arts Court Theatre. Remaining performances are February 10, 14 and 17. Tickets can be purchased at the theatre or online: http://undercurrentsfestival.ca/shows/little-boxes/