Moss Park, from acclaimed Canadian playwright George F. Walker, makes its world premiere at Theatre Passe Muraille this month. It showcases Walker at his best: dark humour and serious social uncertainty all wrapped in a rapid one-act set. In Moss Park, we revisit Tina and Bobby from Walker’s 1993 play Tough!. It’s a few years later, they now have a daughter and are forced to deal with daily struggles, all while trying to retain and figure out their youth. Walker touches on weighty social issues, ranging from crime to poverty, whilst keeping a lighthearted tone. Tina and Bobby exchange friendly—and not so friendly—banter while dealing with the impending wrecking ball of adulthood that they are unable, and unwilling, to grasp fully.
Longtime Passe Muraille performer Haley McGee in the role of Tina joins Toronto theatre newcomer Graeme McComb as Bobby and the chemistry between the two is superb, almost to the point of discomfort. Their passion for each other reaches levels of intimacy that make you feel embarrassed to be sitting in the same room, sharing in these private moments. Just when you’re ready to look away out of decency, the tone shifts with one sly remark, and the entire audience is in an uproar.
With set and lighting design by Martin Conboy and sound design by Julie McCann, the famous Toronto park where Tina and Bobby meet to sort out their problems comes alive on the stage. Leaves, in a myriad of colours, are strewn against a backdrop filled with broken wood skids and plenty of garbage. If this were a dark alleyway at night, you would probably be avoiding it. Along with police and emergency sirens blaring down an imaginary Queen Street, the atmosphere matches the issues that Tina and Bobby worry about. Whether they are working out Bobby’s unemployment woes, or trying to formulate a plan for the future that is right for their young daughter, the setting on the stage illustrates these problems effectively.
Moss Park is a clever, fast-paced comedy that takes the most important social issues young people may tackle in a big city and plainly sets them out for everyone to see. If you are young, were young, or know anyone who is, Moss Park is going to feel remarkably familiar.
Moss Park is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille from now until November 16, 2013. Ticket prices range from $20-$35 (including discounts from students, seniors, and groups) and can be purchased online at www.passemuraille.on.ca.