Debs: I saw the latest Monkeyman Productions Show, “Uncharted Zones – A Sequence of Four” last night – huzzah! For those who are relatively new to our page (and we know there are some of you – welcome!), they are Toronto’s Geekiest Theatre Company and we love them to bits! Also, Debs & Errol wouldn’t exist without them.
With apologies to the actors (who each rose brilliantly to the challenge of performing two roles) and all the those behind the scenes – Marty, Linn, Stefanie, Tom and Tim, I’d like to write…the writing. Or more specifically, about D.J. Sylvis, the co-founder of the company and the resident playwright.
I count Deej among my closest friends. We banter back and forth all the time. We’ve collaborated on two songs (one of which will be on the CD) and in another month, he’ll be one of my roommates. It’s really easy to take the creative part of his life for granted. In post-show discussion, a mutual friend, also an accomplished writer, hit the nail on the head: “You kind of forget how amazing Deej is at what he does”. This is absolutely true.
I’ve seen more than a few of his plays and there are two common threads that stretch through them. First, there is obviously geekiness, because Monkeyman Productions is a geek theatre company after all. Second, there is always a deeper unfolding that taps into a fundamental element of human experience – a desire, an emotion, a relationship. The beautiful thing is that this is slowly revealed and not shoved in your face. There’s no neon sign screaming “Look at me! I’m profound, weeeeee!” You can choose to accept it, or not. If you do accept it, you will find yourself or someone you know in it. It will pull at you and make you reflect long after the show is over. If you don’t accept it, well, Deej has a great sense of humour, the actors are wonderful and did I mention it’s geek theatre?
“Uncharted Zones” is quite possibly my favourite Monkeyman production to date (and that’s saying a lot). It’s made up of four smaller episodes that work essentially independently but are linked together by Leeman, the narrator and a Monkeyman veteran. The first episode starts at some point in the future time travels backwards from there – the last episode could very well be our present. I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty details, because I think they’re best discovered from a seat in the audience but my favourite of the four was the third, which plays with existentialism, identity and entropy. Really, really beautiful stuff.
For anyone who wants to see the fabulous (or Errol who didn’t come last night because he’s a snob) there are two shows left: Friday December 16th, 7:30pm / Saturday December 17th, 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. You can find all the details you need (including a cool YouTube trailer) here.