By Brian Boudreau
The upcoming play Attempts on Her Life by the Ryerson Theatre School fourth-year students is not your conventional play.
The script is what is known as open text, meaning that when the directors and actors received it, there weren’t any characters or specific plots.
“The text is orchestrated so that it leaves the visual sense of the play to whoever is doing the play,” castmate Tayves Fiddis said.
What the cast and crew were given was, quite literally, lines in bullet-point form.
“As a group, and under the direction of Jennifer Tarver, we established who was going to take what lines and who was going to be in each scene,” Phil Poirier said.
Out of those lines, the director and actors began to flesh out a variety of characters — a feat that is not as easy as it sounds.
“Because there is so much freedom to create these characters, it’s hard to choose what you want to go for. They could be anything,” Edward Hillier said.
“It’s like a piece of modern art: something you get a feeling from and sort of piece together.”
The result: an abstract representation of the human experience, with an emphasis on our contribution — unintentional or not — to the menacing hate standard in our society. “If you feel passionate about the presentation, it doesn’t really matter what is being said,” Virgilia Griffith said. “The play is about what appears to be and how we just buy into that. Like the music you hear in a club. Sometimes you listen to the beat and not the lyrics.”
However, the production, by nature, will mean different things to different people — to some, it will mean nothing at all — and that is what the cast is most excited about.
“The more varied the response, the happier I’ll be with it,” Hillier said. “If half of the audience loves it, and half of it is like, ‘what is this shit?’ I’ll be satisfied. It’s got something for everyone, but it also has something not for everyone.”
Attempts on Her Life runs from Feb. 8 to the 17 in the Ryerson Theatre.
Photo by: Chelsea Pottage