Pictured: Kenton Klassen and John Voth. Photo by Jason Benson.
In a two-actor/character comedy, a Neo-Nazi skinhead is represented by a Jewish lawyer. Hilarity ensues.
Nah, just kidding.
In 1998, Cherry Docs by David Gow premiered in Toronto. Though we don’t have manual door locks anymore, the issues discussed in Cherry Docs is still shockingly relevant.
In this Pacific Theatre’s production of Cherry Docs, Richard Wolfe’s directing catches the intensity and the beats in the dialogue perfectly. There are intense scenes with heated conversations, then Wolfe gives the audience a moment to reflect.
The duo from Cave Canem that brought us The Lonesome West last year is back with this production. Kenton Klassen and John Voth show us a different side of their dynamic. If Lonesome West was more comedic and the hatred was more driven from brotherly banter, Cherry Docs shows action and speech driven from genuine hatred and fear of each other’s character and their own beliefs.
Mike (Kenton Klassen) is a juvenile skinhead accused of hate crime and murder. Danny (John Voth) is his Jewish lawyer, but he clearly doesn’t like Mike very much. The play starts out with their monologues, showing the audience a glimpse of their lives and ideals. The simple set and intense lighting sets the somber tone, allowing the audience to focus on every word and tense at every breath the characters take. This journey frees Mike from his instilled hatred, and more importantly, from his fear and the problems he blames society for.
However, this change affects Danny as well. He puts in so much time and effort in understanding and knowing Mike, he neglects taking care of his own life. What’s worse, Mike’s fear starts to slowly infect Danny…
The lighting (Phil Miguel) and Sound (Matthew MacDonald-Bain) adds to the serious, almost film noir-esque tone of this production. The original composition is jarring and demands attention. The lighting is subtle but helps the audience focus on what Wolfe wants to direct the audience’s attention to.
We’re born into institutionalized racism, inequality, turning other races and classes into the “Other”; needing something to fear or something to hate. It’s important to take a moment and think: “Why do I do that?” or “What are my thoughts on that?” There’s really no such thing as “It is what it is.” Though there isn’t a definite one person or organization responsible, and though we may believe we always need something or someone to hate in order to keep our society in check, it may not be the truth at the end of the day. The act of separating that self and the group is crucial in the journey of self-discovery and improvement.
Catch the conversation-sparking play at the Pacific Theatre only until April 28th.
Cherry Docs by David Gow is running at Pacific Theatre from April 5th to 28th, with 8pm Wednesdays-Saturdays with 2pm Saturday matinees.