My first foray into the Toronto Fringe Festival was the play Lilith, produced by RubeCo, and playing at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. Lilith made me appreciate how a good story does not need to be embellished with an elaborate setting or special theatrical tricks.
Writer and performer Denise Norman makes an entrance worthy of Lilith, with her bright red tunic and flaming red hair. Norman brings so much charm to a character that has been held up as someone to be feared. Lilith tells it like it is, resulting in some pretty funny stories; I suspect more people would read the Bible if Lilith wrote it.
Norman plays all the characters in the play, and I really enjoyed her giraffe character and her take on the snake in the Garden of Eden.
There were times when Norman was holding a large folder and it appeared that she was reading from a script. This confused me, but then I thought perhaps Lilith had her own book that she was reading from, her own story that was left out of the Bible.
The set consisted pretty much of two piles of books and a tree, but it was enough. Sound effects helped to set many of the scenes, from the twittering bird sounds of the Garden of Eden, to the wrathful cracks of thunder when God is not pleased.
There is no specific mention of who did the sound, and I wish there was so that I could give kudos. Chris Belc helps direct attention and focus with his lighting, which is essential when the set is so simple.
The themes are biblical, and the characters and stories are recognizable to anyone with even a very basic knowledge of the Bible. However, there are current details thrown in that are relatable to the audience, that are not only funny, but show the timelessness of the themes.
Lilith has something to tell us, something that is as old as time, and as contemporary as yesterday. She didn’t get her chance in the Bible, but she has her chance in this play. Lilith makes you wonder how different the world would be if she had just been able to be heard in the first place.
- Lilith plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George St.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warning: Mature language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 6:30 pm
- Friday July 6th, 11:00 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 1:00 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 4:15 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 7:30 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 2:15 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 9:15 pm
Image provided by the company