Arts & Entertainment, Private, Theatre

‘Fables’ teaches us about the beauty in life’s relationships

One of the most beautiful aspects of life is our ability to form relationships with the people around us. Whether they be platonic, professional, or romantic, these relationships shape who we are and determine who we will become.

Players’ Theatre’s production of Fables explores interpersonal dynamics. Canadian playwright Jackie Torrens depicts the story of a doctor and the relationships that he holds with various individuals in his life. Running from Nov. 15-18 and 22-25, the play follows the life of the doctor, his wife, and two of his patients as they deal with difficult times. The audience peers into the personal lives of these characters—the events that have haunted them, the thoughts they hold towards others, and their aspirations for the future. From overcoming self-hatred to dealing with hypochondria, Fables presents the struggles of each character as it sheds light upon struggles with mental health.

Directed by Filip Rakic, Fables is presented in two acts and uses the stage to portray three distinct settings: A doctor's office, a family home, and a local park. Characters move between these scenes as their relationships with each other face conflicts, grow stronger, and become more complex. We see the connection between the doctor (Thomas Fix) and his wife (Sarah Tiplady) shift as they re-evaluate factors that threaten their marriage via living room dialogue. The doctor’s relationship with his patient, Sid (Alexander Sitaras-Grasic), evolves through fear and ambition for the future. As action plays out in one of the three settings, characters not in the scene can be seen in character in the other two settings participating in day-to-day activities such as writing, drinking, or texting—the audience feels like a part of an ongoing conversation.

From the variety of liquor bottles on the living room table to the classic park bench upon which Lisa (Emily Sheeran) delivers a series of monologues regarding her traumatic past, the production’s set employs detail and adds to the life-like experience that the story tells. Furthermore, all four members of the cast excellently craft its characters by taking on specific mannerisms and maintaining them throughout the show. As Lisa, Sheeran adeptly speaks with uncertainty to display her regret about her past.

Rakic’s decision to largely focus the play on the characters’ monologues allows for the audience to see not only the relationships each character is involved in, but also the inner feelings that these characters hold toward each other and themselves. Fables’ strength is in its intimacy; watching the play is like listening to four new friends who will tell you about their lives, their fears, and their desires.

Rakic, the cast, and the crew have come together to put on a performance that reminds us how the people in our lives accompany us through even the worst of times. Though the play deals with several dark themes, it also uses humour to show the optimistic side of its unhappy characters. Beyond trauma, fear, and regret, Lisa manages to work in hilarious jabs at the doctor’s old age, and Sid constantly mentions his aspirations to make a career out of being a sperm donor. This combination of heavy and light-hearted moments make for a play that provides audience members with a glimpse into their lives and all the ups and downs that are involved.

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