An Utterly Stupid Indefensible Thing by Sock Monkey Collective takes us along for an hour-long deep dive into the relationship between media, bullying, and grief. Creative duo Marc-Andre Blanchard and Scott Kuipers turn the stage at Streetcar Crowsnest Mainspace into a pressure cooker at Toronto Fringe 2019.
Following the death of his best friend — and a controversial video that changes the narrative from martyr to pariah — the awkward-but-clever university student Homer (Blanchard) tries to set the record straight. The story picks up a year later, with Homer campaigning for student president. Things unravel when a fellow student and journalism major (Kuipers) arrives to interview him.
As a two-hander drama, this show runs the risk of relying too heavily on exposition. While the duo stray into this problem occasionally, it doesn’t take away from the dramatic tension. They never give away too much and we are kept guessing about what really happened and what the agenda of both of these men really is.
A small nitpick I had about the plot is that some of the memories and past deeds that get exposed rely on the long-term memory of the characters, particularly things that happened to the characters in elementary school. I found it strange that even a smart character like Homer would be able to remember people and things in such exacting detail from a time he would have been roughly 12 years old. This play is so grounded and raw otherwise that it seemed like a strange ask of our suspension of disbelief.
While the story relies on the fact that neither of these characters are totally morally pure people, I felt more sympathy than shock. I had a hard time believing that either of them were truly bad people even when their unsavory deeds came to light. Their emotional reactions and justifications for doing things were pretty understandable, if not excusable.
The story is a thorough look at power imbalances, with an atmosphere that isn’t afraid to be grown up and dressed down with a healthy dose of cynicism. If you like human drama that makes you ask questions, check out this performance.
- An Utterly Stupid Indefensible Thing plays at the Streetcar Crowsnest Mainspace. (345 Carlaw Ave.)
- 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 (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: mature language; sexual content; not recommended for children.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Thursday July 4th, 10:00 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 4:30 pm
- Monday July 8th, 9:30 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 7:45 pm
- Friday July 12th, 3:15 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 8:30 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 5:45 pm
Performers Scott Kuipers (foreground) and Marc Blanchard (projected image in background). Photographer: Marc Blanchard