Brown leaves outside and it’s suddenly colder than a witch’s tit. Hello, fall! But besides meaning a death to sun and happiness, the fall brings in the new season of independant theatre! Yay! Tarragon has just opened its season with Generous, a new play by Michael Healey.
Generous is a strikingly different play from his more naturalistic works like The Drawer Boy and Rune Arlidge. Generous is actually four two-act plays with inter-twining plots and characters. You see all the first acts, have an intermission and then come back for the follow-ups. They are, in turns, politically charged, emotionally vulnerable and freaking hilarious. The phenomenal cast (Ari Cohen, Yanna McIntosh, Michelle Monteith, Jordan Pettle, Fiona Reid…) is a virtual Who’s Who of accomplished Toronto talent. The best scenes included a blood-soaked farce in the Prime Minister’s Office, an almost balletic sequence of fight choreography motivated by a bucket of KFC and a post-coital chat between an older woman and a younger man so awesomely awkward that one woman in the audience was actually praying aloud for it to end.
The play works brilliantly on the whole “making you think about things” front; it questions the nature of generous acts and show the potentially terrible consequences of people trying to be generous when they are not fully informed. Story-wise, it would have been good to have a final scene to really tie together all the disparate plot strands, but it’s hard to complain about a show so well written and with such a tight cast. What more can you ask for than that?