Stencilboy And Other Portraits

Art and love mix in Susanna Fournier's layered dystopian play at Next Stage Theatre Festival

Presented by Paradigm Productions
Written by Susanna Fournier
Directed by Jonathan Seinen

Susanna Fournier – Playwright, Stencilboy and Other Portraits. Photo by Tanja Tiziana.

Susanna Fournier’s Stencilboy and Other Portraits takes place in an unnamed city that sounds suspiciously like Toronto. Although named after the play’s endearing narrator, the play primarily follows small-town girl Lily (Sochi Fried) as she flees her banal existence for the seemingly brighter lights of the big city. Ostensibly on a mission to convince a well-known artist to paint her, she soon finds herself playing muse-of-sorts to both The Artist (Richard Clarkin) and an infamous renegade graffiti artist Stencilboy (Brandon Coffey). It quickly becomes clear that Lily is not the only one attempting to placate her personal demons under the hallowed mantle of art.

The Artist is a middle class, classically trained baby boomer with a beautiful, municipally funded studio space. He is renowned for his studies of the female nude, the most famous of which is “The Madonna Series.” Stencilboy is a well-known yet unknown graffiti artist by night, whose day job as a city painter allows him to counterintuitively delete his own work hours after he creates it. Stencilboy is a walking contradiction, a good-natured Gen-Y cynic who claims to be apolitical while peppering his conversations with references to the bailout and selling out. Lily pursues The (troubled) Artist at her own peril, while Stencilboy pines for her. This love triangle provides an evocative backdrop for Fournier’s snapshot of the intersections between art, big business, mental health and generational conflict in the wake of the major recession.

Fried, Clarkin and Coffey deliver impressive performances across the board, with some much-needed laughs provided throughout by Coffey, as the ruefully charming Stencilboy. Well-timed musical interludes underscore the play’s numerous dramatic denouements, while the presence of imposing and ever-present empty frames begs the seemingly never-ending modern question: what counts as art?

Stencilboy and Other Portraits runs until January 19 at Factory Studio Thetare as part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

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


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.