The Atomic Tradition produced by So Red feels like an accurate look at dysfunction and all of the ways you should not handle a disagreement. This 40-minute play is showing at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
I loved the script for this play, written by Istvan Dugalin. The characters emotions always felt natural and were presented well through the dialogue. Amanda Jane Smith and Michala Brasseur brought the words to life with their excellent acting.
Another thing I enjoyed about the script and the way these actors worked with it is the way they took something that could have easily felt awkward – the excessive use of names throughout – and made it work. Through the consistency in the writing and because of the delivery, it was easily believable that the characters spoke that way.
That said, it would have been nice for there to be more specific motivations for each character. At points I found myself wondering why they were making the choices they were, it felt like many actions were only for the sake of continuing conflict. If I understood each character’s motivation it could have alleviated these feelings.
Conflict in this piece doesn’t limit itself just to words, and I really enjoyed the fight choreography done in the physical scenes. It was smooth and entertaining to watch. The lighting design during the fight scene was excellent and increased the dramatic feel and the sense of urgency.
Speaking of lights, you should be warned that there is prolonged use of strobe lighting in this play. If you have a sensitivity to strobe lights you should probably avoid this play. In terms of its role in the design, I felt like at times it really elevated the scene, but at other times it felt like too much.
Another thing to note, the show I attended was 35 minutes long, not the 60 minutes listed in the Fringe program. While opening night nerves may have lead to some speeding up of the pace, I can’t see this show running more than 40 minutes or so.
I really enjoyed The Atomic Tradition. It is a strong piece of theatre with a strong script performed by strong actors. As long as you go into this expecting the strobe lights and knowing it’s not a full hour you will not be disappointed.
- The Atomic Tradition plays at The Theatre Centre’s BMO Incubator. (1115 Queen St. W.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warnings: Unsuitable for Minors, Sexual Content, Realistic Violence or Gore, Mature Language.
- This venue is accessible.
- Friday July 7th, 03:00 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 06:45 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 02:45 pm
- Monday July 10th, 09:15 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 08:30 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 03:00 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 09:45 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 06:15 pm
Photo of Amanda Jane Smith and Michala Brasseur bySophie Anne Rooney – Body art by Ali Johnson