Getting into with a quivering lip and a tense trembling foot, Cliff Cardinal (Soulpepper’s Huff), playwright and performer on this invested VideoCabaret manufacturing of (Everybody I Love Has) A Horrible Destiny (Befall Them) is a charming, and suitably uncomfortable presence. The repetition of the title utterly resonates, because it does in his life. He, one after the other, lists off all of the loves of his life which have had horrific fates befall them. And we will’t assist however lean in, whereas leaning again, all on the similar time. The spectacular listing of catastrophes is epic in its creation, dashing rapidly and articulately from crushed windpipes from a docile horse, by means of overdoses, all the way in which to amputations. It’s powerfully partaking, and simpler, he believes, and rightly so, that remaining emotionally disconnected and wanting nothing from anybody of significance is the one manner ahead. And after that listing, we kind of agree.
The framework elicits a powerful emotional response, one full of sophisticated reactions that don’t coordinate collectively properly. It’s spectacular, this fractured duality, because the 80-minute present spins itself ahead on the intimate VideoCabaret (in affiliation with Crow’s Theatre), and by no means falters in its unprecedented supply of his absurdist journey. It’s fueled with a seemingly unending cocaine snort, right here and there, edging the power towards chaos, as his story of cursed love runs quick and furiously ahead. It’s relentless and stumbling at occasions, when phrases and concepts really do battle in his thoughts and tongue, making an attempt to get out of itself as rapidly as potential. It’s fascinatingly darkish and delirious, forging ahead with a limp, twisted snarl, daring us to disagree, however protecting us considerably eliminated as if he’s frightened that this destiny and his curse would possibly envelop us all in its darkish deadliness.
In (Everybody I Love Has) A Horrible Destiny (Befall Them), director and dramaturg Karin Randoja (Buddies in Unhealthy Occasions’ Gertrude and Alice) unravels this darkish curse solidly in sections of layered storytelling, paneled by three formulations entitled: “LOVE,” “CURSED,” and “FATE,” courtesy of set and props designer JB Nelles (Toronto Fringe’s Dancer). Every is given an in depth framework and a fancy thought to play with, edging the story in direction of an unknown consequence with trembling and jerky deliberation. Cardinal by no means disconnects with this manic drug-fueled power and desperation, however embraces it, pulling his jacket on and off with frantic unfocused formality. It’s deliciously tough to soak up generally, as he begrudgingly takes on different kinds, together with the rambling “cribbage nazi” neighbor or the hockey-card psychic addict, with tremors of concern and disgust radiating outward, by no means failing to hit the goal.
Every panel feels linked to the chaired house that sits earlier than it, and Cardinal deliciously dives into the power of every as if pushed to exasperation and desperation by the dis-love of his mom. Staring out from the earthshine circle of sunshine that he desires to be inside him, designed strongly by Raha Javanfar (CS’s Is God Is), the play unpacks the dilemma that stands earlier than this achingly nervous man, costumed completely by Sage Paul (Indigenous Trend Arts), with out ever actually giving him a simple out. It’s jagged and scrambled, with photographs of asteroids crashing into arenas, killing hundreds, all due to a second of common love that radiated out from this troubled man’s thoughts.
As off-balanced because the cabinets are behind him, Cardinal journeys ahead, looking for his disappearing-act manner by means of life in a misplaced Northern metropolis, hoping that distance and a harsh mindset will save all of those that want to return shut. Together with himself. In his desperation, he enters a unifying house that he hopes is protected; a help group created only for broken souls like himself, run by an endangered, however sensible white rhino who unleashes knowledge that’s magnificently revealed from behind the cursed curtain. It’s one of many extra compelling moments in a chunk that generally doesn’t appear to know the place it’s taking us. The play appears to exist, at occasions, solely to be thematically quirky and engaging. Which is dynamic, however with out an endpoint, we’ve got to marvel why we’re climbing in for the trip.
The sneering outwards of this character and the edgy speed-talking work as a method to each preserve us protected and at a distance, saving us from his lethal love-giving, whereas additionally giving us simply sufficient of a purpose to lean in. When he connects with the viewers, as he does over cough drops and sleepiness, it feels distinctive and disparagingly compelling; harmless however susceptible, with an fringe of anger and frustration. However at different occasions, his chaotic hyperactive supply retains us one step too far eliminated, questioning what this cursed endeavor is finally about. The desperation for love and hate feels expansive and engaging, as if we’re watching some self-fulfilling prophecy turn out to be accelerated and inflated past the conceivable. And in that, (Everybody I Love Has) A Horrible Destiny (Befall Them) is a marvel, because it reveals, however possibly not totally embraces, this compelling formulation. However possibly that’s what’s protecting us protected from his curse. Alive. And out of hazard.
(Everybody I Love Has) A Horrible Destiny (Befall Them) runs at VideoCabaret (10 Busy St.) till November 12. For tickets and knowledge, click on right here.