WeART presents an evening of completely unrelated short works that cover everything from poodles to human meat to being born with gills.
Should you see it?
This evening is called Sans Sense for a reason; the four short works presented here don’t actually make much sense. In the right hands, a collection of short works could make for a fun evening. The problem here is that although the material is well written, for the most part, the execution was lacking. Most of the pieces feel incomplete, and Sans Sense is more of a workshop. I found myself with so many more questions than answers.
First up was Stuart Ross’s Shooting the Poodle, in which a man points a gun at his poodle. Why? We never really find out. It feels like the beginning of a short story. There’s no middle, and no end – by the time I realized it was over, Joel Garrow was already halfway through a totally unrelated monologue. It’s too bad, because what there is of Shooting the Poodle is cleverly written, and Joel Garrow’s performance allows for quite a bit of comedy.
Todd Hammond’s Fish is the total opposite, in that it goes on for too long. It’s clear from the beginning of this monologue that Will Lafrance’s character has a birth defect, but it takes forever to find out the specifics. After that, Fish becomes a meandering coming of age tale that would have been more effective had the length been slashed in half, or had it involved more than one performer.
Post-intermission comes the only group scene of the evening, No, Please. Since I do have a soft spot for dystopian societies, this was my favorite. In this overpopulated world, a police officer and his wife have the most awkward dinner conversation ever after he comes home and is forced to have a beer with her lover. Both of those scenes should have been filled with tension – there’s a gun on the table, for goodness’ sake – but with Garrow and Lafrance at the helm it fizzled. It doesn’t help that Garrow always seems to be playing a variation on the same cool hippie-type character in all his scenes.
I would have loved it had No, Please surprised me. Here, it ends as expected, and it feels a little pointless despite clever use of the song “Happy Happy Joy Joy”. Marissa Caldwell is the best performer of the bunch, pulling off the role of a woman whose facade is cracking fast. There are random pauses and strange lighting choices in No, Please that threw me out of the scene every time I actually started getting into the story.
From the giggles around me, Sans Sense felt like an inside joke I just wasn’t getting. I realize that I may have completely missed the point. I realize that some may attend and find it absurdly fun. But to me, it felt strangely devoid of meaning.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d like to hear what you think. Which of the four works was your favorite? What am I missing here? Was pointlessness the whole point of this experiment? Let me know in the comments below!
Sans Sense runs through April 13th at the ODD Box at Arts Court. For more information, check out our preview article.