60 min | Comedy, Drama, Storytelling | PG
o God is series of religiously inspired vignettes, from the anecdotal to the metaphoric, that was put together by Faith and Arts Ottawa, and is a production that retains much of the same spirit and cast of their previous year’s Fringe performance, godVerbatim. While many interpretations can be drawn from the performance, I feel that it tries to reconcile the multiplicity of religious belief, the fact that even people of the same religion will not worship in the exact same way, and that this is alright.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the show for me was to have the cast stand behind the audience at certain points, looming over us and speaking as though they were the voices of doubt at the back of our minds. The acoustics were such that you would catch snippets of words from everyone in the room, and not just the actor behind you, and it was interesting to try and pick out what exactly was being said by which actor: thoughts of suicide from one, prayers to God from another, and so on.
What I was most looking forward to in this performance was the intriguing form of audience participation that they were offering, which was the live incorporation of audience tweets into the show. I really wanted to see how the tweets would influence the content of the production, but was somewhat disappointed to see that they were only read aloud at sporadic points in the performance. I didn’t quite feel that they added to the performance in the way that I would have hoped.
Despite feeling relatively confident that I had an open mind walking into this show, I found it very difficult to connect with the content of this performance. Some of the metaphoric scenes were very obscure, and I wasn’t always sure of the precise message of the more didactic scenes. That being said, some of the stories that were shared were actually quite stirring, and a number of the actors—Tom Sherwood standing out most prominently to me—were true and engaging storytellers.
But perhaps even this is part of the greater message that they are sharing. For every way there is to conceptualize spirituality, there is a voice share it. We won’t hear all the voices. Some we’ll turn away from, not understand, or even reject, but I think the greater point is that you’ll still hear a voice that’s meant for you and your understanding.
I recommend this show for Fringe-goers who are looking for a unique religious experience, who are open to different modes of thought and methods of expression.
o God, by Faith and Arts Ottawa, is being shown at BYOV D, St. Paul’s Eastern United Church (473 Cumberland St). Tickets are $12, and performances are Sunday, June 21st at 8:30pm; Thursday, June 25th at 8:00pm; Friday, June 26th at 7:30pm; and Saturday, June 27th at 7:00pm. Tickets are $12.