Polar Opposites

Arctic bear clowns weather existential crisis in Nicole Ratjen's nippy comedy

Written by Nicole Ratjen
Directed by Rachel Blair and Nicole Ratjen
Musical Director Bryan Osuszek

Nicole Ratjen and Stephanie Jung in Polar Opposites. Photo by Lauren Vandenbrook.

Nicole Ratjen’s Polar Opposites is an absurdist comedy with a decidedly chilly undercurrent. This surrealist 30-minute play transports audience members to an alternate world in which they are privy to the thoughts of polar bears. Unfortunately the bears in question happen to be trapped on a melting iceberg, facing their impending death.

The play centres around the troubling yet affectionate dynamic between bear A (Rantjen) a calculating, despotic self-proclaimed leader of 2, and her counterpart, bear B (Stephanie Jung) whose optimism, idealism and understanding provides the only possible foil for A’s villainous tactics. Their claustrophobic struggle for resources, power and affection in the wake of environmental disaster plays out as a microcosm of our “real” world as portrayed every day in the news.

A tiny stage compounds the sense of entrapment, while icy-blue lighting perfectly evokes the chill of a polar landscape, and imaginative costumes assist with the audience’s suspension of disbelief. Polar Opposites provides a surprisingly charming, cartoonish portrayal of humanity’s darker instincts. Be prepared to participate in this theme, as audience members are encouraged to pummel the doomed bears with ping-pong balls.

Polar Opposites runs until January 19 at the Factory Theatre Antechamber as part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival. Visit fringetoronto.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Wed, 2014-01-08 - Sun, 2014-01-19
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