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Out to the Theater with Other People's Problems - November 4th-8th @ Théatre Ste-Catherine

Posted by Sarah / November 5, 2009

Other People's Problems.jpgWhen I look back to the years when I was doing my first degree, some of my best memories revolve around theater. Who hasn't done the odd "Theater Arts" class in high school or enlisted for the drama club because the cutest boy/girl in school was part of it? What I'm getting at is, when did we stop indulging in to the theatrical arts? Why should music shows or the silver screen take over our art-seeing plans? When I saw the flier for Other People's Problems a few weeks back, I made plans to attend the show with a good friend of mine. Last night was a perfectly fabulous Wednesday evening in Montreal. Read on to learn more about why you should also make plans to see this show in the next few days.

Written by DeAnne Smith, Sarah Quinn and Samuel Booth, Other People's problems is an evening of one act plays, all of which are performed by the talented Sarah Quinn. The plays involve virulent and entertaining comments on the "business of happiness". Since the plays are all relatively short, it doesn't take to long to get right to the core of things.

The first play is about self-help/motivational seminars. It talks about how those type of things tend to market their "new" approach by changing very little from the latest self-help fad. The character's story of legal copyright infringement persecution gives off an inside story of two people who were originally good friends and business partners. Now, Louise (main character) is on her own and basically lets that baggage lead the way into shameless criticism of her friend's methods to happiness. This play has funny insights on how the new self-help fad always finds ways of putting down the last one and making it's audience feel small and helpless before it starts laying out a "new path" to self-improvement and fulfillment while communicating an increasing pressure to "achieve" as though it was the only way to truly be happy in our current society.

The second play features a character that has a popular advice vlog (video-blog). She gives her own personal advice without pausing to think what types of repercussions it may have on her audience. The character basically communicates thee same way one teenager might suggest to her friend to manipulate and lie in order to get what she wants. She's not so much about solving problems in a mature and thoughtful way, as she is about getting from point A to point B in the fastest and easiest way possible. The play takes advantage of this setting to communicate a beef with the way companies manipulate vulnerable people to just as soon walk away from any liabilities their actions may bring on.

The third play features a lady who works on becoming a "strong, sexy and confident" woman. The lonely character sits down with a book-on-tape that tells her how to overcome her issues. However, an important message of the play, I think, is how something that doesn't listen can only help you indulge into a dreamland and train you for something that won't really happen - perhaps because all of our experiences are as individual and unique as we are. What it doesn't, and can't possibly do, is prepare you for how things really will pan out. While the character is getting lost in her fantasy dreamland with her first love, she's not actually solving her real problem: loneliness.

The plays were pretty great and I enjoyed watching them very much. I think theater is probably the last of the indie arts: it's so real and direct. I feel this very organic art is probably the best way of getting to the essence of creation where no politics or corporate agenda gets in the way. You still have a few days to catch the play with a friend, or by yourself, whatever.

Théatre Ste. Catherine
November 4-7 at 8PM
November 7-8 at 2PM
Tickets are $17/$12 (for students and seniors)

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