You’ve seen it before: a rich girl falls in love with an outcast. Working on this classic theme, playwright Jenny Lyn Bader modernizes this subject in the comedy None of the Above.
The play makes its Canadian premiere in cooperation with Kaleidoscope Theatre Montreal, who have had previous success adapting classics such as Sophocles’ Antigone and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Directed by Trevor Barrette and Michelle Lewis, the play focuses on two characters in present day New York City learning how to overcome their problems. Together, they build trust and support each other in spite of their differences.
Actress Lily Maclean gives life to Jamie Silver, a rich 17-year-old girl living in the Upper East Side of New York who attends a fancy private school. Jamie—whose parents restricted her access to money after a party accident broke an expensive vase in their house—has turned into a small-time drug dealer.
Scott Humphrey, a Concordia graduate, plays Clark. He is a 22-year-old genius in desperate need of money. He is hired by Jamie’s father to tutor her for the SATs and tasked to get her score to a perfect 2400—an impossible task.
Jamie and Clark struggle to overcome their social barriers and backgrounds in order to succeed towards a mutual goal. As they interact, secrets are revealed on both sides. Jamie discovers why her tutor accepts this shady agreement with her dad, and Clark discovers surprising skills in Jamie.
Set and costume designer Kelly O’Toole, also Concordia alumna, is in charge of the seemingly simple stage design. All scenes take place in Jamie’s room which consists of a few furniture items: her bed, working desk, dresser and sofa.
The theatre in which the play is held resembles a live auditorium. The bleacher-style seating arrangement creates a more intimate ambiance, facilitating the connection between the audience themselves and the characters.
Adding to the atmosphere is the fresh and jovial music, featuring a soundtrack created by Montreal musicians including Bent by Elephants, The Jem and Emily Skahan from Motel Raphael.
Humphrey and Maclean’s performances gives authenticity to the production, probably because they are young adults themselves. Adding to this authenticity are the various props and electronic devices that are essential in contemporary teenagers lives.
The dialogue is fun and smooth, keeping you engaged throughout the play. Initially, some of Jamie’s attitudes are so cliché that it renders them artificial.
However, as the play develops, the characters reveal their more human sides and easily create empathy.
It is impossible not to have a few laughs at the witty exchanges that most teenagers can relate to—and some jokes they don’t, if they don’t have absent millionaire parents.
None of the Above runs until Nov. 30 at Mainline Theatre.