by Erum Khan (Floral Theatre)
22 min / Comedy, Drama, Play, Solo / Mature
The concept is promising: a woman finds herself in purgatory and explores pieces of memory while arguing with God. The first few moments were hopeful. The show begins with an earnest plaint in another language to something on high that only the woman can see.
From there, the one-actor play veers off into a series of unrelated – vignettes? moments? random thoughts? – which do not develop character or advance a story. There were no common themes between scenes (I use that term loosely), let alone a coherent narrative.
I suppose if you are stuck in purgatory for an indeterminate amount of time, your mind tends to wander. So portraying a stream of consciousness on stage may mean that the audience must perceive the scenes as fragments of the past. However, when they are delivered only in disjointed fragments, the conceit works against itself. The result is a bizarre and rambling journey across a bare stage that gives the audience nothing to think about, feel, or invest in. Exploration of the emotional and dramatic potential of a soul in limbo is not even attempted as far as this reviewer could tell.
There was an element of audience participation on stage during opening night, so take this into account if such a show makes you uncomfortable.
Despite its incoherence, Becoming does not even last long enough to truly dislike. Perhaps it’s not finished?
Becoming by Erum Khan is playing at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Ave) until Sunday June 24, 2018. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info. Apt613 is trying to see every show on opening weekend of the 2018 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.