We Glow- Review
The house was packed Friday night at the opening performance of We Glow, directed by Theatre 4.669 Artistic Director Kevin Orr. Taking place in the beautiful Senate chambers at the University of Ottawa’s Tabaret Hall, I was fortunate enough to have gotten a seat at the massive board table, easily some of the best seats in the house, acting as part of the “exec”- complete with suit jacket. We Glow is a comedy about two married social climbers, played by Brad Long and Emily Pearlman, who come to the board, the audience, to beg for their jobs back.
Throughout a series of six work-place performance questions asked by the audience-board members, we see how these characters met and how they try desperately to find some sort of meaning in their existences by doing whatever it takes to obtain that next promotion, and ultimately we see what leads them to their breakdowns. This piece was definitely interesting in its conception and acting, but could have been trimmed a little ‘round the edges as it feels a trifle long towards the end.
The space is used incredibly well. Scenes take place on the board table, off the board table, around the board table, in the audience even, turning the Senate chambers into a dance club, a park, and, my personal favourite, the gym. Long and Pearlman have great energy and play off each other well. Their chemistry is able to draw laughs from the audience, but was also able to create believable stakes for their characters especially when they fundamentally disagreed on something (i.e. when to have kids).
The sound design, by Sean Green, is, for the most part, on point. The music often added much hilarity or atmosphere to the vignettes, though there were a couple cues that were uncomfortably loud. Also, I failed to see what the sound of a car (though, it sounded more similar to a Nascar racer) whizzing by added to the scene with Pearlman driving. Overall though, I found that the sound added that special touch to the performance.
Towards the end of the piece, there were a couple of odd directorial choices that could have been done differently or cut altogether, for example, the real-live speaker-phone conversation, which seemed really unnecessary since the previous phone conversation wasn’t; or moments of unmotivated blocking where Long goes and sits in the audience multiple times only to move again one line later.
However, the end of this play is truly touching and We Glow is worth seeing on its staging and acting alone, though it’s the sound that gives it that extra flavour. I recommend checking out this show as it’s one of the better productions I’ve seen at Fringe thus far.
Presented by Theatre 4.669
Directed by Kevin Orr
Sound Design and Stage Management by Sean Green
Senate Chambers at Tabaret Hall- BYOV F