Montreal’s Free Standing Room, one of the city’s most interesting creative collectives, hosts the upcoming Contemporary Knights from theatre company Plaid Thursday Productions. An exploration of themes like mental illness, rape trauma and assault, the production consists of two interconnected plays whose aim is to approach gritty subject matter through a combination of humor, energy and fairy tale allegories.
The first play is called “Ledges,” and it deals with the story of Marie, a woman suffering bi-polar disorder. Depressed and contemplating suicide, she meets Paul on the rooftop of her former office building. Paul convinces her to come down and go for a cup of coffee. From caffeine they move on to a one-night stand and the possibility of making something more out of their fortuitous encounter. Their relationship is put to the test once Marie goes off her medication.
The second one-act, “Black Flats,” is the story of Kiya, a young woman with a case of OCD. After surviving an assault, her condition gives way to a crippling episode of agoraphobia. Kiya’s neighbor Sherri, supportive at first, eventually grows annoyed by her inability to move on. The stakes are raised when two men force their way into Kiya’s home.
Both pieces are written and directed by Lauren Stone, a writer and actress with previous experience in Los Angeles and Seattle. She was recently made a member of the Free Standing Room and is working with an all-Montreal cast for the staging of “Contemporary Knights”. For this production, she is interested in exploring the perceptions different people have on mental illness, the nature of pain and the way in which relationships develop when someone is being treated for a mental condition. The cast includes Sean Colby, Michaela Di Cesare, Nicky Fournier, and Kenny Streule.
This promises to be an evening of fun, nuanced theatre, with the aim of offering the audience both laughs and food for thought.
Contemporary Knights premieres on July 31st at 8:00 p.m. at the Free Standing Room (4324 Saint-Laurent, 3rd floor), with performances on August 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th and 9th at 8 p.m. Additional showings also take place on August 3rd and 10th at 5:00 PM. $10.