Happiness- Selling Out the Salesman
The pursuit of happiness is undoubtedly a universal one. The meaning of happiness, however, is personal and unique to all of us. In Happiness, the new play brought to you by the boys of MayCan Theatre, the audience is confronted by the fact that sometimes, in the end, what we thought would make us happy doesn’t.
The audience is confronted by the pursuit of happiness by two sales representatives, played by Tony Adams and Cory Thibert, from the H.P.L. company who trap the audience in a seminar and try to sell you products “guaranteed” to make you happy. Throughout the seemingly perfect pitch, the cracks in the two salesmen’s façades begin to show; by the end we see the true men behind the proverbial masks. MayCan has a history of excellence, and this show is exactly what you expect: great chemistry, solid acting, well-developed characters, intelligent story, and an all-around great time.
What I really appreciated about this show, having seen previous MayCan productions (Wolves > Boys, Les Animaux, and Sounds From the Turtle Shell, etc), is the direction this piece takes. With the help of directors Madeleine Boyes-Manseau and Martin Glassford, the script turns dark very quickly and the stakes become very high as the two salesmen are pitted against each other courtesy of H.P.L. CEO Mr. Carpenter.
It was refreshing to see Cory Thibert, as company legend Peter Barrel, play a bit of a villain and Tony Adams, as new kid on the block James Lemon, bring an emotional intensity to a character mired in controversy. Ray Besharah is well-cast as corporate head honcho and plays a great catalyst to Barrel and Lemon’s simultaneous breakdowns.
The prop design needs to be mentioned as the “Happy Hook-up” is one of the greatest accessories I’ve seen on stage in a long time and, finally, Ashley Rissler’s choreography, is seriously hilarious in that it allowed me to relive my 90s childhood for a few precious moments.
All in all, this play is highly recommended for anyone looking for an entertaining and thought provoking show, though I recommend going early to get good seats as there are no risers set up in the venue!
Written by Tony Adams and Cory Thibert
Directed by Madeleine Boyes-Manseau
Directorial contributions by Martin Glassford
Tony Adams as Jack Lemon
Ray Besharah as Mr.
Cory Thibert as Peter Barrel
Playing at St. Paul’s Eastern United Church BYOV I