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The Vic

The Vic by Leanna Brodie
Directed by Sarah Szloboda
A Terminal Theatre production
Jericho Arts Centre
Feb 16 th to 21 st, 2010

Vancouver, BC: This production of The Vic is an ambitious undertaking by the young Terminal Theatre company which staged its first production in the summer of 2009. For this, their third production, they might have been better served had they chosen a less convoluted play.

The Vic features 8 female characters - described as part victim, part victimisers - in four disparate story lines which finally come together - sort of. I found the continuity of this play hard to follow so without having read the script, here is what I gathered from the show. 

The set is dominated by a giant screen on which brief film clips show at different points between the other scenes. This as we discover is the thread that draws the four stories together. The play opens with women entering the darkened space, each carrying a light, the Spanish singing evoking the "desaparecidos" or "the disappeared" of Latin America. Then we see four local women searching for a missing woman, Cara (April Cameron) whose inner thoughts are revealed through her "diary" shown in the film clips. Cameron's naively wistful, young girl provides the only really sympathetic character in the story.

Spud (Melissa Oei) and Elise (Emilie Leclerc) are an incongruous couple in a mutually destructive lesbian relationship. Oei is convincing as a hardboiled poorly educated street-wise recovering alcoholic woman who is proud of her 5 years of sobriety.  Leclerc adds a touch of comic relief as the elitist post-doc who has all the jargon but can't get her paper written. 

The third storyline concerns Linda (Lori Ashton-Zondag) who is the far too youthful-looking mother of Henley (Stefania Indelicato), the altruistic "save-the-world" older sister, and Tanis (Kristin Kowalski), the messed up younger sister who has become a cult follower of Jacob, a sadistic self-declared "prophet" who we thankfully never actually get to see.

Finally we also meet Cheryl (Larissa Hikel), ambitious young film-maker who gets to work with her hero, Darsana. Darsana is a larger-then-life film director played with wonderfully  raucous abandon by Kathryn Kirkpatrick.

The challenge I had in following the story that these women are telling was partly due to difficulty in hearing some of the dialogue. Depending on how the Jericho space is used it can be quite cavernous, and I frequently found myself straining to hear. There was also a technical problem with the audio of the film clips, so again it was hard to hear certain parts but this should be fixed before the next show. 

I find it hard to articulate what question this work is actually asking. There seems to be an implication that the "victims" are largely the architects of their own misfortune; as much victimiser as victim. Even the murdered Cara seems to blame herself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But to equate this to the victims of "political disappearance" seems a very long stretch. 

The Vic runs till Feb 21 at Jericho Arts Centre. Buy tickets through Tickets Tonight or by order by phone at 604-684-2787