Review by Erin Murray
60 minutes | Comedy | G
It is so easy to slip into routines. You can repeat the same day over and over so many times, that you begin to forget all other ways of living. Some people welcome the monotony of such a life, repeating the same words to the same people every day. It relieves them of the frightening and burdensome prospect of an honest and authentic existence. The couple in Martin Dockery’s absurdist comedy The Pit has become trapped in the tedium of their daily lives, and are so paralyzed by it that they wake one morning to find they cannot even begin their daily routine.
In the hour that follows we witness two people, who have forgotten why they fell in love in the first place, struggle to make their way back to each other, and to escape from the giant hole that has appeared in their bedroom floor and threatens to swallow them up. It is a strange plot, admittedly, but Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle make it come alive brilliantly. Their circular conversations and verbal sparring are perfectly timed and staged, and their natural chemistry creates dynamic dialogue that had me glued for the full hour of the play. It is a rare pleasure to see two actors work this well together. Dockery and Quesnelle are able to create a laugh in the smallest of their actions – a look or a tone that is perfectly placed.
There is no set for this play, but Quesnelle and Dockery do a masterful job of bringing the stage to life. I had no trouble imagining the furniture in their bedroom, the berry bush and the gentle stream. These two actors made better use of their imaginary set than some do of a real one. The lighting subtly let us know what time of day it was throughout the play, and set the tone as the moods of the characters swung from forgetful bliss back to discontentment.
The play is funny and fast-paced, but all the while dancing around a very serious problem – how will they escape the pit? The couple argues and jokes along, but all the while this danger looms. When they do finally confront it, there is a brief moment of tender honesty which is not to be missed.
A charming and engaging play, it will make you laugh while at the same reminding you how important it is to keep focus on what matters most in your life. You will want to go home and hug your partner/roommate/cat, curl up with a bottle of wine, and talk about the good old days and how you first met, chasing down the past before it disappears.
The Pit by Martin Dockery is playing at Academic Hall (133 Seraphin-Marion, University of Ottawa) on Saturday, June 22 at 2:30 pm; Sunday, June 23 at 3:30 pm; Monday, June 24 at 8:00 pm; Tuesday, June 25 at 10:00 pm; Wednesday, June 26 at 8:00 pm; and Thursday, June 27 at 6:30 pm. Tickets are 10$.