In hall at the top of a church on a blank proscenium arch stage, a group of Canadian high-schoolers gave me more than I bargained for: two plays for the price of one. The first, A Play with Words, opened with a writer called Scribe, talking to his therapist about his struggle to write a play through his writers block. Encountering a variety of characters (each with the name of a pronoun and each with a speech related quirk) under exceedingly farcical circumstances, Scribe attempts to create a play and search for meaning in the process. Despite fumbling through redundant moments with some very self-conscious performances, Play With Words had some great comic instances, including excellent touches of punning and wordplay. That being said, overall this play was a rather uneven mix of juvenile and unfunny moments with glimpses of bright and sharp repartee. Sadly, I found that the former rather outweighed the latter.
The second play, Blind Love, an original play devised by the students was much stronger. Charming and inventive, it follows the thread of a boy-meets-girl story in a heart-warming and humorously unconventional way. Many impressive and attention-grabbing techniques were used to split the dialogue, creating a whirlwind of voices weaving in and out of each other. Physicality was also used with flair and effectiveness to create animated and amusing scenes. Cutesy songs and delightful animations were used at different points which added an extra creative appeal to the piece. This play contained much more consistent and convincing performances, carrying off the mix of tender and comedic moments with apparent ease and alacrity. Blind Love was much more of a standout production than its prelude.
Overall the two plays were enjoyable, yet the first let down the calibre of the second. I would recommend going to see this production and bearing with the first half, if only in order to experience the uplifting and inspiring second play. Clichéd and simple it may have been, it is also exceptionally tender and touching.