“Sex is never just about sex.” This is what Katalin (Andy Fraser) teaches us time and time again in Aromas, written and directed by Andrew Faiz.
Katalin has spent her entire life searching for an identity, but to no avail. After transitioning from being an awkward pubescent girl, to a successful ice dancer, to a rich man’s arm-candy, Katalin soon realizes her love for transforming into different people at different points in her life. And in an attempt to be anything but herself, her sex-working alter-ego Chanel is born – and it’s showtime!
But Chanel is not all fun and games. And neither is sex. And with every movement of her body, Chanel makes it her goal to save men. And in turn, save herself.
This is a beautifully written piece. It is a one-woman show that is engaging from moment to moment. Though the show itself is not physical, the words entrance the audience with evocative images that allow them to see Katalin’s entire life spread out on stage before them – moments that will tear away at their hearts.
Katalin’s stories are tiny train wrecks. They are tragic and heart-wrenching, yet so hypnotizing that you need to know more.
Faiz is meticulous with his textual details and, unfortunately, at times we watched Fraser slip on certain lines. Like an ice dancer, she made graceful recoveries, but not before the audience had a moment to think: “Ooo, that’s gotta hurt.” Aside from minor errors, Fraser held our attention for the entire time and hit us where it hurt – repeatedly.
We empathize with Katalin because, in a way, we are all like her. We don’t have one identity. We don’t play one role. And life is not about slapping a title on people. It’s about all the little pieces that come together to build who we are.
There is nothing that gives this critic greater satisfaction than walking out of a low-budget show in a small black box theatre and feeling so moved by it. In this show, you are not charmed by a spectacle, you are charmed by the world of the play. And that, my friends, is what great theatre is all about.
Aromas is playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre until October 4th. For tickets and more information, visit www.aromastheplay.com.