Theatre Skam’s producton of Concord Floral explores the dark side of teenage life. The play runs until Aug. 26, File contributed

REVIEW: Ever wanted to be young again? Theatre Skam’s Concord Floral will make you think again

Strong acting in an interesting theatre space, writes Sheila Martindale

By Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine Contributor

This somewhat disturbing play by Jordan Tannahill highlights teenage behaviour today, with its cyber-bullying, hanging out and tiresome use of the F-word. It is Theatre Skam’s summer break offering, staged in the old Staples two-floor building on Fort Street. The space represents various scenes, including school, homes, and an abandoned city greenhouse which the teenagers have taken over as their hangout place. It is here that something happens which the group tries, unsuccessfully to forget.

Two casts take alternate times to stage this difficult and ambitious play; the performance I attended featured Lili Michaelis-Martin, Abby Corpus, Frankie Wilson, Karmen Legge, Gabriela Martinez, Claire Diamant, Jas Wong, Justin Francis Lee, Elena Cacovic and William Robertson.

The interesting space is used to good advantage, with the audience following the cast around. Fortunately one of the ushers was kind enough to supply me with a chair. Right away it became evident that the space was too large and echoey for the voices, when we could not clearly hear the introduction. This did improve as the play progressed, but when the cast was required to shout, the sounds became distorted and again, inaudible. However, the quality of the acting by these young people was excellent, and the grim atmosphere was well-maintained.

A more detailed program leaflet would have enabled me to mention who took the intriguing roles of the fox, the couch and the bobolink, as well as the chief bully and the bullied. No company should assume that everyone knows who is who on stage. OK, you can go online to get this information, which is, I suppose, typical of the digital world in which young people today live.

Theatre Skam is, among other things, a theatre school, where young people learn the art of acting, and presumably other aspects of the thespian arts as well. Kathleen Greenfield directed this particular production, and she did a great job of pulling a varied group of teenagers together to produce a compelling and darkly atmospheric performance. If you have ever looked back and longed to be a teenager again, Concord Floral will convince you that you really don’t want to do that.

Concord Floral runs until August 26th. Tickets and info at skam.ca

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