Gwen is dead, and three loved ones — her sister, best friend, and girlfriend — mourn her. Drawing inspiration from imagery of waterfalls, A Drop of Water conjures forth parallels and convergences between these three women, and knits them together through monologues to tell a story of grief, memory, and the bonds which tie us together. It’s heavy stuff for a Toronto Fringe Festival show, and while the performance is watchable, the chosen devices can’t quite bear the strain of this ambitious project.
Lacing movement through certain pivotal scenes allows for some truly clever staging: I especially liked a crawling sequence, and another which invoked the image of a metronome. But I found that the decision to underscore practically every moment of the show with movement often served as a distraction, neither punctuating nor illustrating the text. This was especially bothersome in a number of situations where dancers would arrive at the end of a movement track too early or too late and be left to improvise.
I’m also not sure the material shows each performer at her best. I won’t be so crass as to rank their contributions, but I did find the experience bumpy, all peaks and valleys — which is murder on the pace of a show. It felt as though the performers considered two of the characters to be more fascinating than the third, at which point the kinder thing may have been to rethink, reframe, or cut the third wheel.
But that’s asking for a lot of cruelty, and given that these performers are a collective barely a year out of theatre school, may be more feedback than they really need. As a piece of student theatre, it’s a little overly-earnest in places, but they’ve definitely got one or two real hits of emotion and feeling here. This production doesn’t quite gel, but this little Drop of Water has potential.
- A Drop of Water is playing until July 12th at the Robert Gill Theatre. (214 College St., enter off Beverley.)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
- Although this production is suitable for all ages, children may not find the subject matter to be of interest. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Cast photo by Hannah Belvedere.