Review by Ashley Cabecinha
50 mins |Drama | PG
Many subjects lend themselves easily to Fringe shows. Others, like suicide, are difficult topics to tackle in a mere 50 minutes. White Noise does just that, telling the true and very, very sad story of Nadia Kajouji, a first-year Carleton student who took her life in March of 2008. It may not sound like the makings of an enjoyable evening, but Ottawa production company Twisted by Design has managed to tell Nadia’s story in a beautiful way.
So how do you tell a tale that’s already been told countless times in mainstream media? You tell it as someone else’s story. White Noise is the story of Margaret (Margaret Evraire), a literal reflection of Nadia. As a first-year university student struggling with depression, she turns to the internet in hopes of finding someone to talk to. While searching, Margaret stumbles upon Nadia’s (Christina Bryson) internet trail. Nadia also suffered from depression, and looked to the internet for help. As Margaret reads through the conversations and watches the videos Nadia left behind (some elements directly from Nadia’s online conversations have been worked in), she discovers the online relationship that led to Nadia’s tragic end. Thankfully, this leads Margaret to resolve against suicide, and to seek help outside of the internet.
It uses monologue to spell out the story, but White Noise is really worth seeing because it is exceptionally beautiful. To be perfectly honest, some of Margaret’s dialogue is too obvious, and could easily have been omitted. The narrative by Evrarie and Bryson is heavily supported by the physical gifts of Aisha Bentham, Elizabeth Tanner and Brittany Cope who dance, float, swim and sing the production to life. These ladies are shiver-inducing as Qallupilluit, Inuit monsters featured in Robert Munsch’s book A Promise is a Promise. There are relatively few props, but their repeated use throughout makes for some very haunting and powerful visuals. You’ll be amazed at how versatile a white piece of fabric is.
It’s a daunting task to tell such a familiar, tragic, story, especially when much of the audience in Ottawa is likely to know it well (it’s worth mentioning that you need not know any of the background to fully understand the show). White Noise manages to do it in an interesting, respectful manner. Please don’t let the subject matter keep you away. It’s a great show, perfect for rounding out your Fringe calendar.
White Noise by Margaret Evraire and Christina Bryson is playing at Venue 3 – Academic Hall (133 Seraphin-Marion, University of Ottawa) Tuesday June 19th at 5:00 pm, Wednesday June 20th at 6:30 pm, Thursday June 21st at 8:30 pm, Friday June 22nd at 6:30 pm and Sunday June 24th at 1:30 pm. Tickets are $10 each.