The Particulars and in General (Pyretic Productions) 2011 SummerWorks Review

The Particulars and in General opened with a pipe organ recording of the hymn “God Who Fills All Life with Goodness”, often sung during morning prayers at my Anglican high school. It closed with a recording of Pygmy yodeling. The play is comprised of two monologues back-to-back, telling the stories of lives weaving around one another but never connecting.

At first, the second monologue appeared a total non sequitur to the first. The connection was soon revealed however, to quite humorous effect.

The first monologue was the Sunday sermon of Reverend Lillian (Elizabeth Saunders), youth minister at St. Andrew’s United who is filling in for the usual minister. Reverend Lillian tells a thrilling and at times slightly disturbing tale of her odyssey into the jungles of Africa to retrieve her “spiritual mentor”, the elusive Reverend Trinidad. I’ll refrain from further analysis of the “safari” aspect of this since the play does a fairly good job of poking sly fun at this and at church foreign missions in general.

The second monologue opens a window into the life of meticulous, solitary Gordon (Simon Bracken) whose life is slowly unravelled by a mysterious scratching coming from his kitchen.

We watch as both characters become undone by love and co-dependency in very different ways.

The production made highly effective use of one set used in very different ways in both monologues. While Reverend Lillian remains thoroughly clad in her ministerial vestments during her entire performance, Gordon becomes increasingly more dressed as his narrative unfolds. He begins in tighty-whities and ends in a three piece suit and tie. In the context of a minimalist set, subtle shifts in the mood effected masterfully through the use of lighting meant everything.

Both story and performances were subtly evocative and thought provoking. There was a distinctly surrealist and fantastical thread to the narrative without crossing the line into either of those genres. The unique dramatic intensity in each performance definitely kept me engaged.


The Particulars and in General plays at Factory Theatre Studio on:

Saturday August 6th 12:30 PM
Sunday August 7th 5:30 PM
Tuesday August 9th 8:00 PM
Thursday August 11th 10:30 PM
Friday August 12th 3:00 PM
Saturday August 13th 8:00 PM

All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee. Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.