Love in all its complex, messy, glorious forms in Love Between the Lines

Chelsea Riesz, Lisa Alves, Courtney Lamanna, Joella Crichton, Mercy Cherian & Cathy Huang—rehearsal photo courtesy of Jenna Borsato

 

HERstory Counts opened its second season at Red Sandcastle Theatre last night with Love Between the Lines, written and performed by the ensemble, and directed by Co-Artistic Producer/Co-Artistic Director Jennifer Neales, assisted by Ellie Posadas, with dramaturgy by Co-Artistic Producer/Co-Artistic Director Evangelia Kambites.

For those of you not familiar with HERstory Counts, it’s a company that produces true stories, performed by the creators themselves, offering a space to challenge and push past the ideals of the status quo. We feature and celebrate female-identified womyn of all backgrounds, all ages, all races, all histories, all sizes, all sexual orientations, and all abilities.”

Featuring autobiographical storytelling from six writer/performers, Love Between the Lines is an examination of love in its various forms and incarnations, each story weaving seamlessly in and out of the other. Joella Crichton’s exploration of the stages of grief following a break-up; Chelsea Riesz discovering sins of the father in her relationship dynamics; Cathy Huang’s love letter to a kindred spirit grandmother; Lisa Alves navigating identity and the complicated, close-knit ties with her mother; Courtney Lamanna connecting the dots as she recognizes and strives to break the cycle of abusive relationships; and Mindy Kaling doppelganger Mercy Cherian’s undying love for a dying, ever protective father.

Told with vulnerability, humour and courage, the storytelling is up close and personal—candidly revealing all the maddening, heartbreaking, messy struggle, comfort and elation of these relationships. Incorporating memory, personal insight and even confession, each actor plays out her truth on a bare stage; her story animated by the other actors, who deftly transform into parents, lovers, inner selves, a tarot card reader and even—most hilariously—goofy, fiercely protective street dogs in India. These stories move you to laughter, tears and even maybe your own a-ha moment. These stories resonate.

With shouts to Stage Manager Mariah Ventura, Creative/Production Assistant Robin Luckwaldt and Production Manager Jenna Borsato for their work on this production.

Love in all its complex, messy, glorious forms in Love Between the Lines.

Love Between the Lines continues at Red Sandcastle, with performances tonight, Saturday and Sunday night at 7:30pm, and a 2:30pm matinee on Sunday. Get your advance tickets online or purchase at the door half an hour before show time. Advance booking recommended; it’s an intimate space and last night’s opening was a packed house.

Keep up with HERstory Counts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Toronto Fringe: Beautiful slow dance of intimacy & memory in Ninety

William MacDonald & Nicole Fairbairn in Ninety - photo by Dahlia Katz
William MacDonald & Nicole Fairbairn in Ninety – photo by Dahlia Katz

Saw another lovely two-hander at Toronto Fringe yesterday: Naked Goddess Productions’ Canadian premiere of Ninety, written by Joanna Murray-Smith and directed by Mercy Cherian – running at the Theatre Passe Muraille (TPM) Mainspace.

Isabel (Nicole Fairbairn, also the show’s producer) and William (William MacDonald) meet for 90 minutes in Isabel’s flat before William leaves to get remarried. Former lovers, now divorced, they meet to say the things previously left unsaid – and as they do, we witness them relive key moments in their lives together through shared memories, happiness and tragedy. It is erotic, funny and heartbreaking to watch them run out the clock in the final moments together.

Tender and passionate performances from Fairbairn and MacDonald. Fairbairn’s Isabel is crazy vivacious, sexy and creative – and extrovert who lives life at full speed ahead and loves to tease, playfully torment, even. Working at restoring a painting, she has a patient appreciation for the painstaking process, noting the evolution of the image as the couple on the canvas becomes clarified and more vivid. Rather like the unfolding of this meeting with William. MacDonald’s William is a cocky, charming extroverted introvert, an actor and former drama teacher who’s hit the big time on the small screen. Compelling chemistry between these two actors as they play out the love, loss and reunion of these characters struggling for closure and forgiveness.

With shouts to Lisa Sciannella’s set and costume design.

Ninety is a beautiful slow dance of intimacy and memory, featuring lovely performances from Fairbairn and MacDonald.

Ninety has two more performances at the TPM Mainspace: July 9 at 7:30 p.m. and July 11 at 12:00 p.m.