The Ghomeshi Effect has nothing do to with the eponymous trial yet everything to do with the discussions that event catapulted in to the mainstream. It’s a simple, pared-down production that hits its mark through verbatim content and steadfast delivery.
Creator/Director Jessica Ruano made a call for witnesses of the sexual violence experience via social media. From this call interviews with subjects having experienced, worked in, reflected on, and survived sexual violence were documented. The dialogue of the production uses, in its entirety, edited interviews to inform and share a conversation that is both personal and raw. The six cast members deliver these personal accounts while executing choreographed dance moves on a stage shared only with moveable low-tech grey desks.
The sparseness of the stage creates the space for the interviews, allowing experiences to fill the theatre. Shattering and infuriating tales of why women, men and children don’t come forward and a challenging condemnation of the capricious nature of our justice system reverberated. Given the unrelenting emotions the production could be well served by a brief intermission to provide breathing space.
The cast work separately but in harmony providing individual powerhouse channels. Delivery, and believability were on-point and each shone in their own right. The choreography had highs and lows working most effective when subtlety executed while becoming artificial when overtly athletic. The bilingual contributions by Marc-André Charette and Gabrielle Lalonde were particularly successful in heightening the reality behind the script. A unique piece of theatre, Ruano has created a thought-provoking effective and entertaining production capturing and adding innovatively to a difficult conversation.
The best art is that which ignites and intensifies feelings. If the conversation amplified by the titular trial and, more recently, by events such as the Women’s March feels relevant than see this recommended and woke production.
February 2nd 2017
At The Shenkman Art Centre 245 Centrum Blvd.