James Ryan Gobuty
Will Eno’s Tragedy: A Tragedy very much lives up to the promise of being “Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation”. The play focuses on a local news show desperately trying to report on the fact that the world seems to have been plunged into a never ending night. Despite the apocalyptic scenario, the play is very funny, while remaining dark and thoroughly absurd throughout.
The play has four principal characters: Frank (Don Allison), the veteran news anchor in the studio; John (Benjamin Clost), the enthusiastic, yet not very bright correspondent in the field; Constance (Miranda Edwards), the earnest, up and coming location reporter; and Michael (Cyrus Lane), the program’s resident legal adviser. Together this absurd news team struggles to deliver up-to-the-minute facts about a situation they can neither see nor comprehend. As the never ending night goes on, each member of the team begins to fall prey to the meaninglessness of life and breaks off into despondence. The only ray of hope is the show’s single Witness (Christopher Stanton), who, despite the bleak situation, brings the chance of redemption into the purview of this otherwise dark play.
Director Stewart Arnott deserves a lot of praise for keeping the balance between humour, absurdity, and depression throughout the show, and for transitioning between them excellently. The bleak end of the play has all the more force because, as an audience member, one can feel palpably the life being sucked out of each of these characters until there is nothing left but a husk.
Tragedy: A Tragedy is presented by Nightfall Theatrics and is playing until August 16th at The Lower Ossington Theatre Mainspace (100 Ossington Avenue), as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival.