Talisman Theatre’s Yukonstyle is an emotional roller coaster of a show and you should go see it, now. Last night’s performance was simply arresting. I would describe this show as dreamlike only in that you can almost not tell what is happening at times and what is fantasy, but at the same time, that is not the right word. There is nothing soft about this show, there are only hard realities, and even in and perhaps especially in such a huge landscape, there is nowhere to hide. This is not an ode, but an indictment of the North, of the harshness of the landscape, what it takes to survive when everything is set up to take you down, and chips away at your being, your psyche. It is not nightmarish, but in some ways horribly banal that things should be the way they are, and that is an indictment of ourselves.
The play is powerful, and grotesque and poetic and beautiful. The show is primarily about Yuko (Jasmine Chen) and Garin (Justin Manyfingers), roommates in Whitehorse dealing with the Garin’s declining father Pops (Chip Chuipka) and a lost, ignorant, irritating, pregnant white teenager named Kate (Julia Borsellino) that Yuko takes into their home.
To me, the star of this show is Manyfingers’ Garin, identified as half-Indian, and full of impotent fury, at his mother who disappeared when he was a baby, at the fact that he cannot confess his love for Yuko, his Japanese roommate, at his job where he is at the low end of the food chain, at himself, at his father for thwarting his search for truth. His journey of turning to face the truth of his past is heartrending, and while all is not complete darkness, it is a hell of a ride. Chen’s performance however must also be highlighted, as Yuko and her other supporting roles throughout the production. Also, the image of her carrying Kate on her back in the cold will stay with me for a long time.
I cannot get enough of this type of theatre. The production is slick but not distracting, the actors are as solid as a brick house and the gaze is unflinching on the realities that they are dealing with. It is gutsy, challenging yet accessible, and deeply unforgiving work. I felt vulnerable at the end of this. It deserves to be widely seen. Talisman Theatre, I salute you.
Also Kudos to using a Moldy Peaches song. That made my 2001.
Now playing at Theatre La Chapelle (3700 St-Dominique) from October 12-29th, 2016, tickets 25$ for students, 30$ regular and available here