We all know the story: Lauren and Alex meet, fall in love, move in together, then slowly, and inevitably, things begin to fall apart, piece by piece. How we remember these memories is how Fragments came to be: the friends that support us, the apartment that you lived in and the music that takes you back.
Fringe is meant to be off-the-cuff, slightly off-centre, yet it was Fragments that to me, felt the most real, genuine and authentic. I was rarely taken out of the moments, rather drawn in and enticed by the empathetic nature of the script. According to Tewakaratónnions Production heads Io’Takeratenion Thomas-Beaton and Dusty Outerleys, that was exactly their intention. “We allowed the actors to alter the dialogue to feel more natural,” Outerleys said. Fortunately, they had their cast chosen before finishing the play. This allowed for a clear and decisive delivery from the actors, natural expression, and comedic timing that only weeks of rehearsal could’ve given.
Lauren (Kate Huxham) and Alex (Ben Peters) are you and yours; Ross and Rachel, your parents, decades ago; Shannon and Zach are your raucous best friends, Ted Mosby and Barney… you get it –– characters rewritten over and over, and for good reason. “We all know a Shannon, we all know a Zach,” says Thomas-Beaton, “There’s a reason people tell these stories.”
It all felt so familiar: the set, a run-down apartment with clothing strewn about and the lines, carefully constructed from personal memories, held together through thoughtful contemporary music amidst tonal lighting.
The set specifically stood out to me: a deconstructed wall, in three separate pieces, then cut further into five more pieces, fitting together like a jigsaw. The wall was adorned with a vinyl album, a framed photo of Lauren and Alex, and two handprints. The walls weren’t white, but a scuffed taupe. The furniture was haphazard and the blinds, imperfect. All these pieces together create a broken and disjointed setup for the theme, mirroring the decomposition of their relationship.
I rarely mention the crew in a show, mostly because Fringe production teams are the actors themselves. In Fragments, however, the Set Designer Corey Schmoetzer, Set Crew Chief (Mitchell Pike) and Lighting/Video Designer (Giuliano Chabot) are instrumental in the success of the performance. “We are lucky to have our set designer” Outerleys said his vision for the set was totally different from what Schmoetzer conceived and loves the final product. I do too.
Outerleys’ and Thomas-Beaton’s fight dialogue was of note to me as I heard myself in Lauren’s rebuttals, flinching when Alex finally reveals his motives. It was rapid, smooth and emotional. The supporting actors held up their end, getting to really develop in their own characters too. Erin Yardley-Jones, who plays Shannon, commanded the stage with her unwavering and turbulent presence. Sam Rettino as Leigh, Lauren’s sister, supported her sister no matter what, and Hicham Zakaria as Zach was the glue holding it all together.
Outerleys describes the show as “little snapshots” of how we remember our relationships, jumping from present, to past, to future smoothly and effortlessly, again using the set accordingly. You cannot miss a beat in this show, catching little nuances of time changing before you through details like the shutting of the window blinds, the lighting shifts and the weather projections.
Maybe I’m biased. Or maybe they accomplished what they set out to: make something that you could see yourself in. It could be that I have a musician boyfriend, that we live together, that we went through school at different times, or maybe it really is… “something we all go through”. For their debut production, Tewakaratónnions says they’ve learned so much from this process, are proud of it and even hypothesize remounting: Thomas-Beaton says “you’re never done writing a story.”
“WHO IT’S FOR”
For the young romantic in all of us
Tewakaratónnions Productions presents “Fragments”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Performances: June 7 – 15, 2019
Venue: 05 – Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire
4750 Henri-Julien, Montréal, H2T 2C8
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from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!