From Charlottetown, to get to the peace and serenity that is Victoria-by-the-Sea, one must drive through some dramatic valleys and hills and, these days, some really rough patches.
Plan B, a project undertaken despite much opposition, which chose to ignore some other prospects, has gone defiantly forward with hopes of a reliable future.
Well, I can’t think of how that could be used as a metaphor for anything. So, anyhow, there’s a play about relationships at the Victoria Playhouse.
Nothing cryptic here, it’s called Boy Meets Girl, A Young Love Story. A sweet and humble two hander, the show explores love from the perspective of a couple of five year olds. Time is skewed during childhood, a day can be an epic adventure, and a week is an eternity. The smallest gestures can feel so meaningful.
The play, originally penned by Sam Wolfson, is mounted collaboratively by Sherri-Lee Darrach and Adam MacGregor, with Alicia Altass serving as director, and MacGregor working as musical director.
A simple set creates the playground, bedrooms and a classroom, with all adult voices coming from off stage.
On a park bench, we meet the two youngsters, Sam and Katie, and watch as they fumble their way through an innocent courtship.
Magnifying the idiosyncrasies of childhood makes for a wealth of giggle worthy material, as you might expect. The actors are sometimes kiddish in their manner, rocking proudly, belly out, or arms flailing, squirmy and restless.
Mostly, though, they present themselves more as adults, with mature dialogue, framing the kiddish subject matter with straight face. The more subtle and casual the delivery, the funnier it hits. Almost throwaway lines like “it’s a great opportunity” highlight the absurdly epic tone kids can project onto a moment.
It’s a light piece, with laughs coming from both clever and silly moments. Lots of ‘remember this’ and ‘remember that’ references for any generation, but perhaps even more-so for the one that’s just now raising their own kindergartners. I suspect some line tweaking by the production company made the piece even more immediately relevant.
The performers, who each have heaps of experience in dinner theatre, have also added a number of songs to the original script, punctuating the highs and lows of fledgling love, and adding more drama than the original script implied. The company keep the production just this side of too saccharine, though, keeping a little irony in their back pocket. The transitions don’t seem to disrupt pace, and merely allow a moment to reflect as they casually pick up guitars and slide into a familiar favourite, usually with a maritime flavour. Tight strums gently back easy breeze vocals. The duo play a fine original song, as well, written specifically for the play. A surprisingly elegant and fleeting scene blooms out of what on the surface is a tender, yet terribly awkward first dance. We’re invited into their heads for a moment, and witness a graceful and mature expression of affection.
It’s a modest bite-sized play, appropriate for the characters being portrayed. The two acts zip along quicker than you can say, “seems like just yesterday.” It’s a quaint trip down memory lane, which also, by the by, is scheduled for some major re-routing, so proceed with caution.
Lennie MacPherson, a Charlottetown-based writer, actor and musician, writes theatre reviews for The Guardian during the summer months. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.