Three to Leave, produced by Floral Theatre, fills one of two youth spots at the Ottawa Fringe this year- meaning they only have two performances in the whole festival and if you missed yesterday’s performance you only have one more chance this coming Saturday the 17th at 2:00pm. I think it’s always incredibly important to support youth theatre artists and in the case of Floral Theatre, these artists are making some really exciting directorial and dramaturgical choices in this new work which is why it’s landed on my list of ‘things you should see’. Of course, like a lot of new work it has its own quirks that it needs to work out but it definitely has all the right tools to becoming a really great TYA production.
The story follows Sofie, Sadie, and Aurel, childhood friends who find themselves slowly but surely drifting apart as they wade the treacherous waters known as Your Teenage Years. Through various interconnected, yet not totally chronological, vignettes we watch as the three teens struggle with puberty, independence, and maintaining relationships originally thought to last forever. The performers are very authentic with the emotions they present on stage and the themes in the text feel so true to the teenage experience (the moment when Sofie and Sadie are talking about plucking their moustaches, for example). Theatre for Young Audiences sometimes gets a bad rap for becoming to pretentious or pandering (probably because most of it is created by older playwrights who are writing retrospectively), so I always enjoy seeing theatre that’s actually been created and developed by the very demographic TYA aims at.
Now, it could really benefit from having a director/outside eye with some experience (I couldn’t find a director credited in the Media package for this show anyways) to help smooth out some of the scenes and transitions that currently feel a little rough around the edges; not to mention, the technical elements need to be integrated more seamlessly as it is very hard to see and hear what’s being projected the few times video is utilized on stage. All this to say, I have such respect for these young artists who are making creative and conscious choices on stage. One of my favourite moments in this show happened when the performers used a suitcase and a white sheet to create a veritable television of sorts where video is being projected onto it. Incredibly unfortunate that there appeared to be some sound issues so it was almost impossible to hear the video recording, because I thought this was a really clever and endearing way to end the piece.
Like I said, I would suggest making room in your Fringe schedule to check out this show. If the company name didn’t tip you off, performers Aurel Pressat, Sofie Milito, and Sadie Laflamme-Snow first met through their work on Concord Floral (created by Jordan Tannahill, Erin Brubacher and Cara Spooner) which played at the NAC to much critical acclaim in 2016. Keep an eye on these artists…I sense good things coming from them in the future.
Created by Sofie Milito, Sadie Laflamme-Snow, Aurel Presat, and Franco Pang
Presented by Floral Theatre
Venue 1: Arts Court Theatre
**Final performance Saturday June 17th @ 2:00pm