Have you ever woken up in a state of disorientation, not knowing whether what just happened was real, or simply a dream? Fever/Dream, by Sheila Callaghan, situates its audience in the corporate world where protagonist Segis (Trevor Ketcheson) awakens one day after spending 23 years of isolation in the Customer Service “department” (basement of the building), only to realize he’s been promoted to the role of president.
Not only did Fever/Dream infect its audience with situational absurdity; the phenomenal acting of its performers turned this fever into a pandemic! The cast shot out every joke on point, provided the exact amount of emphasis or sarcasm necessary, and overall, brought the scenes to life.
Ketcheson’s portrayal of an isolate was spectacular – from the obvious craziness one would develop after 23 years of doing the same thing alone, to the misunderstanding of common knowledge.
In addition to Ketcheson’s efforts, I felt that the chorus (comprised of Karina Bradfield, Zenna Davis-Jones, and Courtney Keir) assisted Segis’ insanity by playing along with his whims. One such scene of hilarity occurred when the chorus introduced themselves to President Segis as the accountants. Upon Segis mistaking them for “account-ants,” the chorus immediately got down on all fours and started behaving as ants, making the audience burst into laughter.
An additional piece of joy in Fever/Dream’s ridiculousness was the one character who recognized the situation for its outrageous nature. Fred (Dylan Mawson), the office manager, was the only character not consumed by the constant insanity surrounding the corporation, and watching Mawson’s portrayal in that situation definitely gave my core better exercise than any crunches would. Mawson went above and beyond, by breaking the fourth wall at times and looking out to the audience for some answer as to what was going on. Mawson further strengthened a strong performance by contrasting the other characters with his understanding of the often grave realities of life.
I was really impressed by Seven Siblings Theatre Company’s set design and use of space. In the June 2009 Washington Post review of the original Fever/Dream performance, Alex Baldinger mentions that the play was originally held back due to the complexity of special effects. In the SSTC’s performance, the special effects and props/stage tools in general were very simplistic, yet immensely effective in creating mood and delivering artistic messages.
Seven Siblings Theatre Company is an up-and-coming Toronto band that previously produced the successful play Mercury Fur. For more information and to keep track of their future productions, follow them at www.sevensiblingstheatre.ca