Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/10/2017 (253 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Going in, Philip Ridley’s play Tender Napalm, as its contradictory title implies, is a bit of a mystery. Its central characters are Man (Karl Thordarson) and Woman (Daina Leitold), a couple who endure a tragedy and subsequently engage in a cycle of tearing down and building up their relationship over and over again, encompassing scenarios both real and fantastic.
The play takes place on the fourth floor of 245 McDermot Ave. (Creative Manitoba), where audiences will pause in the front foyer for the first part of the show before moving on to the main performance area where the performers will act in a space augmented by projections for an immersive experience. It’s especially immersive for the two main actors since they share a bond with their characters.
"We are a married couple," Thordarson says. "So to play a married couple, there are a lot of direct correlations between our relationship and our histories. It rang very true for both of us and I think we had a lot of personal material to draw upon.
"Also, I couldn’t imagine doing it with an actor you’re not so intimately familiar with because there’s a lot of intimate physicality and intimate emotional connection, as well as quite a big makeout scene at the end," he says.
"It made it a lot easier for me," director Brenda McLean says. "For the intimate moments, saying to them, ‘OK, this is a moment of high sexuality.’ I don’t have to be as careful and step back quite so much because they’re so comfortable with each other.
"I think that adds to the dynamics of the piece."
Of course, just because they’re comfortable with each other doesn’t mean they’re comfortable in intimate situations in front of an audience.
"That remains to be seen, eh?" Leitold says. "We’ve had a couple of test audiences and it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was actually exciting to get to that part because we are comfortable with each other."
Tender Napalm plays nightly at 8 p.m. until Oct. 21. Tickets are $25 at the door or $22 at theatrebytheriver.com.
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.