In collaboration with Hart House Theatre, the U of T Drama Coalition presented its 26th annual Drama Festival. The event, spanning over the course of three nights provides a high-profile showcase for original one-act plays all written, directed, and performed by the numerous drama societies at U of T. This year, the festival was adjudicated by Toronto-based theatre practitioner and U of T professor Jill Carter.
The performance last Friday night opened with the play titled “I Can’t Trust Anyone, Everyone Hurts Me: A Comedy” from the theatre troupe UC Follies. The play depicts a comedic, late-night look into the lives of three young people of colour, deciding whether they can forgive those who mistreat them, who lie to them, and who turn out to be different than they thought. The set is in a trendy restaurant where the actors take turns asking for Wi-Fi, playing cards, and looking over eighty-page menus with unconventional food items. Soon, the three main characters learn that their favourite musical artist is being charged with sexual assault allegations when supporting actors read out missed notifications on their digital devices. The play essentially addresses contemporary issues in a comedic light—such as through Facebook rants and retweets.
Shola (Aba Amuquandoh) deletes all songs and photo evidence of “the enemy of all women” and condemns Dane (Anyika Mark), whom is in denial of the musician’s actions.
At one point, Shola powerfully says to Dane, “Why are you trying to make things grey, when some things are simply black and white?”
Dane reveals more deeply rooted insecurities of her cheating boyfriend and how she continuously justifies his actions. The piece culminates with Dane recognizing her worth and vowing to rely on her friends and to be unapologetically herself.
The Green, The Gold, The Grey comes from the drama society St. Michael’s College Troubadours and portrays two men held captive for crimes they did not commit. Set in Ireland, all the actors pull off Irish accents with humour and skill, adding to the overall tone of the play. At the start, Mountjoy (Claire Morgan) and Grace (Eileanor O’Halloran) appear trustworthy and likeable, as they are detectives casually dressed in cream sweaters and denim. They bring in Enda (Rachel Bannerman) and Ronald (Matt Lalonde) as suspects for a terrorist bombing which has incited mass riots.
Enda and Ronald fight with each other onstage. Each is distrusting and hateful of the other. However, they are forced to converse in this inescapable situation and end up divulging their pasts filled with hardship and violence. Their conversation humanizes them, as they grow sincere and believe each other when disclosing that neither set off the bomb. We realize that Mountjoy and Grace are in fact the villains trying to frame their innocent fugitives just so they can make an arrest. They wickedly force Enda and Ronald to make a decision on who goes down for a crime neither committed, and the play heartbreakingly ends with both confessing in an attempt to save the other.
Night two of the Drama Festival brought humour, depth, and creativity to the Hart House Theatre stage. The festival ran from February 8 to February 10.