2013 SummerWorks Performance Festival: This Wide Night

Freedom is fleeting in Chloe Moss's arresting two-hander

Presented by Wide Night Collective
Written by Chloe Moss

Directed by Kelli Fox

Serving a prison sentence requires adaptability to surroundings, fellow inmates, and daily routines, leaving the past “normalcy” of the outside world behind. However, once the inmate is released back into that outside world, they often realize that they are still captives, regarded as “other” in a society they no longer recognize. In Chloe Moss's This Wide Night, now playing at the Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the 2013 SummerWorks Festival, two fellow cellmates attempt to rekindle their friendship while struggling to find their way.

The audience meets the sombre Marie (Maggie Blake) in her studio apartment, sitting on the floor watching television in her pajamas. Someone knocks on the door, eliciting a deer-in-the-headlights reaction from Marie, and in walks the fast-talking, witty Lorraine (Kristen Thomson). This opening scene is highly effective in its foreshadowing of the story that is about to unfold, as both characters introduce themselves and their own personalities to the audience through this initial exchange.

It is clear that the two women know each other very well, and are both having a difficult time finding their way in an unaccepting world. Lorraine is hoping to reconnect with the son that she had to give up over 20 years ago, and needs to stay with Marie for a while until she can get her life together. Marie is working late hours at a job she hates, and wants to take a trip to the beach to escape it all.

One of the most interesting aspects of This Wide Night is that these two women, in Marie's small studio apartment, discover things about each other they did not know before, even though they had previously shared a prison cell. The fact that they are now facing the world has brought out anxieties that were hidden previously, but their vulnerabilities are what bring them closer together.

This production succeeds at illustrating how difficult it is for individuals considered “other” by society to try and find a place where they belong. Marie and Lorraine are both very likeable characters that the audience roots for throughout. Director Kelli Fox gets strong performances out of both Blake and Thomson, making This Wide Night highly engaging and enjoyable to watch.

This Wide Night is presented by Elizabeth Fry Toronto, the city's only agency to provide services for women in conflict with the law, and plays until August 17 at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. Visit summerworks.ca for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Fri, 2013-08-09 - Sat, 2013-08-17
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