Sex, alcohol and technology are just a few of the indulgences played with in Infinitheatre’s latest project The Leisure Society. A hilarious yet tragic tale of the inner turmoil of a seemingly perfect couple, The Leisure Society asks the question: How can you admit that something might be missing if you have almost everything you want?
Peter and Mary have agreed to quit smoking once and for all after one last cigarette. However, they can’t overcome this vice. Neither can they break off their friendship with “Mark,” who they feel no longer fits their lifestyle. The cigarettes then become an analogy of their friendship with Mark and they delay giving up either one.
Technology is a constant presence in the performance, as though it were a character itself. Peter and Mary’s television has a multitude of functions such as drowning out conversation with hockey or news, acting as a babysitter for their child and providing art facsimiles. It hinders the couple’s relationship with each other as well as with their newborn child. This forces the question: Just how much technology is too much technology?
The cast, Daniel Brochu, Catherine De Sève, Sheena Gazé-Deslandes and Howard Rosenstein, make for an outstanding ensemble. Brochu and De Sève as Peter and Mary do a solid job portraying a dysfunctional married couple, mastering their characters’ hysteria so that it never overshadows their performance. Gazé-Deslandes as Paula adds lightness to an otherwise extremely dark comedy. Rosenstein brings depth to Mark’s sleazy personality, and it’s hard not to find his antics charming.
The set, lighting and sound design all complement one another. Bain St-Michel is the perfect locale for the performance, with the remainders of the former pool surrounding the stage and audience.
Entering the room, the sound of children splashing in a pool sets an idealized tone even before the audience reaches their seats. This ambiance embellishes the perfection that Peter and Mary wish to convey. Underneath all of their materialistic possessions, including a pool in their backyard, lies their unhappiness.
The Leisure Society is a searing tragedy, but the comedic undertone enables the audience to witness the helplessness of a marriage on the verge of ruin, and how the influence of technology caused such a rift in their ability to communicate.
The Leisure Society runs from March 6 to March 25 at Infinitheatre (5300 rue St-Dominique). Tickets are between $10 and $20. For more information, visit www.infinitheatre.com.