R-E-B-E-C-C-A is a progressive play that will make you squirm in the best way possible.
Written and performed by up-and-coming playwright Sara Farb, this show completely destroys the unrealistic impression that society imposes upon individuals with disabilities and builds a beautiful, comprehensive world in its place.
Based on the life of Farb's younger sister, R-E-B-E-C-C-A is a conglomeration of two intertwining narratives: one depicting the life of Rebecca, who is developmentally delayed, and one depicting the life of a second version of Rebecca, a young girl who Farb's sister could have been, had she not been born prematurely.
Farb removes the societal lens from Rebecca's life and has us see the world through her eyes. We get to experience her joys, her pain, her frustration, but most importantly, her contagiously cheerful disposition. Farb attempts to let us into a world that we cannot possibly know and she successfully provides a space for us to understand.
In a parallel universe, the girl who Rebecca could have been has a complicated life in other ways. She does not have natural physical ailments. She is able to fully form and express her thoughts. But she is so empty, lonely and depressed that it has taken a toll on her entire life – a life that she wishes to escape from. She is offensive, ill-mannered, bad-tempered and disappears into World of Warcraft in an attempt to avoid human interaction.
Rebecca could have had a different life, had fate taken a slightly different course. But through Rebecca's double, Farb reminds us that different does not equate to better.
Farb does not only give a voice to a group of people who are rarely spoken about, but she celebrates them. She puts her sister's life on a pedestal and displays it for what it is: a unique and happy reality.
Directed by Richard Greenblatt, R-E-B-E-C-C-A runs at Theatre Passe Muraille until March 1. For more information visit www.passemuraille.ca.
photo credit: Michael Cooper