Review by Alessandro Marcon
Approx. 70 minutes | Comedy | General
At the start of the evening, music flitting through the air, Ingrid Hensen walked across the stage and crawled in a massive black trunk which sat in the centre. Objects and food sprang out of it. A moment later, so did Hensen.
And so it began; Little Orange Man, a play about boundaries, or rather, about crossing them.
Ingrid Hensen’s character Kit is glad – no, ecstatic – that we, the audience, have answered her call on Craig’s list and have volunteered to help her navigate the waves in her treacherous dreams. We’ve entered her world, paddles in hand, seats in the vessel, along for the ride. We bounce, glide, rise in the crests, skitter in the spume. At times we’re on the surface and in others, beneath it. At times we can’t tell whether we’re over or under. Where does one end and another begin?
In Kit’s world stories produce reality. Stories come from everywhere: suitcases, shadow-skits, puppets, songs, and animated food. A very special grandfather comes into play. He came from one world, is now in another. The focus shifts to us, the audience, to help this Kit reconnect with her past, her grandfather, her elusive identity. In order to make the connections, obstacles impede. One must cross over, but boundaries are everywhere.
There is light and darkness. A.D.D. Openings and closings. English and Danish. Food goes in, gets chewed, and is spat back out. Socks roll up then roll down. A maelstrom of dreams. Fences divide children from children, but they find a way to connect through the metal. In and out of worlds we drift: Kit’s self-conscious, her dreams, her family’s history, her inability to make sense of her place in the world. She’s there to share. She begs us to listen. For it’s in listening and interpreting that words gain meaning. Kit knows this so well that the knowledge boils inside of her; our presence means everything.
While entangled in the mission to reconnect with bedstefar (Danish for “grandfather”), what scintillates on stage is the power of storytelling, and of empathy, opening oneself up to another’s plight. Hensen’s talent and energy grips us and holds us on deck. Unable to cast aside her pleas for involvement, we are quite literally lured into active participation.
Baby shoes, so ineffably small in adult palms, scamper through the air.
Chasing a grandfather, Kit has us believe.
Little Orange Man by Kathleen Greenfield and Ingrid Hansen plays at BYOV H – St. Paul’s Eastern (473 Cumberland St) on Friday, June 15 at 9:15pm, Saturday June 16 at 4:30pm and 9:15pm, Sunday June 17 at 8:30pm, Wednesday June 20 at 9:15pm, Thursday June 21 at 9:15pm, Friday, June 22 at 9:15pm, and Saturday June 23 at 4:30pm and 9:15pm.