Saw yet another marvelous two-hander at Toronto Fringe last night: Kildare Company’s Hanger, written by Hilary McCormack and directed by Joshua Stodart (both also on the Ale House Theatre Co. Twelfe Night, or what you will team) – running at St. Vladimir Theatre.
Acceptance and denial of mental health issues come to the forefront as sisters Liz (McCormack) and Kat (Tennille Read) find their relationship at stake over attitudes about mental illness and perceptions of events from their family history. The writing is structured in such a way that you can’t tell if what you’re seeing is a flashback scene or a hallucination – which has the disturbing effect of putting you inside the point of view of an individual in crisis.
Lovely, poignant performances from McCormack and Read; truthful, committed and on the edge as these sisters grapple with inner and outer conflicts – torn between the love and bond of sisters, and being unable to connect or be on the same page of their family history. McCormack’s Liz is the shit-disturber of the family, calling out their concealed troubles; stubborn and determined, she faces the issues but at a very high cost to herself. Can she find a way out? As Kat, Read is the peacemaker and protector; in denial, and vacillating between drive and anxiety in a see-saw of emotion. Can she find it inside her to admit what’s really going on?
Hanger is a powerful and thoughtful exploration of family relationships in the face of mental illness, featuring moving performances from McCormack and Read.
Hanger has one more performance at St. Vladimir: today (Sat, July 11) at 5:15 p.m. Get out to see this – it’s an important topic.