For my third play on Saturday I took in Corner of, by Little Sparrow Theatre Co. This is a new play being staged for the first time. It is, according to the program, a creative collaboration of eight people, all of whom are involved in some way in the production or performance of the play. This collaboration came together under the direction of Teri-Lynn Friesen, producing this entertaining and thoughtful play.
Here is the information on location and showtimes.
The Question at the Heart of Corner Of
The play revolves around the question “who is my neighbour?” The play does not present this as an abstract question. Rather it forces the watcher to look at the characters in the play and see their own interactions in the interactions of the characters. As an audience member a subsidiary question to ask is, am I a neighbour?
One of the things that stands out about Corner Of is how the action never stops. Even when there is a changes of scene are short. This helps capture one of the challenges to being a neighbour. Our lives are often so filled with activity, that we don’t have time to stop and just be. The pacing of Corner Of captures this quite well.
Also there is almost continually some form of noise. One of the most often repeated one, is the beep of a traffic signal counting down. After a while it gets on the nerves. This though is a good thing. Like the reminder that we need to slow down to be neighbours, we also need to shut out noise and just listen.
Another thing I appreciated is that the series of vignettes are presented in such a way that they offer no easy answers or happy endings. Being a neighbour is a long, and sometimes difficult process. It will be marked by ups and downs. It will not always turn out the way we hope it will. The quote from Frederick Buechner used in the program sums this up well.
“If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.”
Corner Of captures this sense of being a neighbour, quite well.
Simon Miron is responsible for the music for the show. Janelle Hacault, who did last year’s Essentia is responsible for the choreography. Music and choreography work very well together to help and tell the story and raise the question of “who is my neighbour?”
The cast is solid, but the clear star is young Noah Luis. He has stage presence. His voice is always clear and well projected both as singer and as speaker. This is one thing the rest of the cast could work on. The singing projection is on the whole quite good, but the speaking projection often falters.
Corner Of represents one of the great parts of the Fringe. You can get go and see something that has never been done before. It isn’t a finished product. However, neither is the audience. Down the road both may be changed in ways neither expected. Both may end up having a new understanding of “who is my neighbour.”