What could be more Canadian then the first flush of love occurring at a hockey camp complete with a Tim Horton’s reference? Radiating earnest niceness, Torontonian Sam Mullins’ “Weaksauce” coming of age story is not without obstacles but falls squarely within the “good” heading.
His telling of a camp event that involves primates and a school bus is one of the most memorable along with a description of his adult heart as being “like Keith Richards Fist”.
Mullins is an engaging storyteller whose presence and pacing make the hour-long production a consistently enjoyable experience.
Winnipeg’s The Three Beggars theatre mounting of Steven Karam’s provocative Off-Broadway hit “Speech & Debate” covers the bad and ugly heading solely based on the play itself.
Despite the flaws of the play, the local cast excel at capturing the naivety and ignorance of emerging adulthood.
The actress playing Diwata is reminiscent of a young Reese Witherspoon in the similar movie “Election”, both in looks and in ruthlessness while the actor playing Solomon deftly captures the adolescent in an adult suit character.
The “Speech & Debate” storyline – that starts as an unseen teacher verging on middle age trolling for barely legal men online and ends with a “sexual encounter” with a 16 year old student – remains ultimately unresolved making the play morally ambiguous at best or as immature and confused as its characters at worst.
One only needs to take in John Sadoway’s Fringe play “Trued on a Base Story” to appreciate the long term damage such sexual abuse causes which has traditionally been minimized and excused in popular culture. It is for this reason that “Speech & Debate” while trying to capture the “badness” of coming of age becomes an ugly thing.