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Bear with me: Sun Bear @ParkTheatre

If The Light House is an uplifting tale of survival, Sarah Richardson’s Sun Bear gives a contrasting take on this. Sarah plays Katy. We’re introduced to Katy as she runs through a list of pet office peeves with her endlessly perky coworkers, particularly about coworkers stealing her pens. It’s a hilarious opening monologue that would have you wishing you had her as a coworker to help relieve you from the boredom of petty office politics.  But something is not quite right in the perfect petty office, where people work together well. And that is her. And despite her protesting that she is fine, the pet peeves and the outbursts are becoming more frequent. As the piece progresses, maybe the problem lies in a past relationship, where Katy had to be home by a particular hour, not stay out late with office colleagues and not be drunk enough not to answer his calls. Perhaps the perky office colleagues are trying to help, and perhaps Katy is trying to reach out for help. It has simple staging

Peace is our profession: The Acedian Pirates @Theatre503

Keeping the peace and stopping depravity is all and good, but in The Acedian Pirates it comes with a few unintended consequences. It is an evocative and testosterone-fuelled piece currently running at Theatre 503.

Watching this piece had me pondering what Donald Rumsfeld said once about unknown unknowns. After all this piece is set in some unknown remote lighthouse in some unknown battleground. The mission is unknown and the outcome also unknown. You’re as confused as the characters about the point of it all, but you get drawn into it anyway. There is never a dull moment with the fights, the explosions and a strange lady upstairs.

What it all means is an unknown. Perhaps it is that war and the best intentions lead down the same path. There is the unit desperate to go home after a long tour of duty. But a new arrival starts asking questions about their mission’s purpose and things start to unravel. Soon even the most peaceful of missions seems awfully violent.

With a claustrophobic set, a strong cast and a brisk pace, things move quickly enough to sustain your interest.

But at times you are never sure whether you should be laughing or taking things seriously. It’s as if panto season has come early and these naughty bored soldiers are out doing outrageous atrocities.

Acedia is a noun, from Greek akēdia, meaning apathetic listlessness or a moral failing. More apathy and listlessness might have helped.

Still the piece, which was shortlisted for the inaugural Theatre 503 Playwrighting Award, is fascinating all the same. Written by Jay Taylor and directed by Bobby Brook, it runs at Theatre 503 until November 14.


Photo credits: Production photos by Savannah Photographic

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