The Flick (2017)
by Annie Baker
a Snakeskin Jacket & The 28th Minute co-production
Directed by George Toles
Featuring Ivan Henwood, Aaron Radwanski, Jen Robinson, Thomas Toles
Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize winning 2014 drama, The Flick, is set in a run-down movie theatre, which, like its trio of underpaid employees, is struggling to survive.
The action of the play occurs in the shadowy, decidedly unglamourous intervals after screenings, when the spectators have departed, and the theatre must be cleared of debris. Sam, Rose, and Avery live lives starkly different from conventional movie fantasies, but the power of movies to shape and affect their beliefs and behavior is still operative, and each of them draws upon cinema’s seductive current. They are rashly, foolishly, heartbreakingly and often nobly in pursuit of love, artistic fulfillment, enticing dangers, “prison” escape and, above all, self-respect. If only they didn’t need to keep this damned job.
There is room in this shoestring epic about working life for every conceivable mood, and The Flick’s deceptively low-key method is laden with surprise. Comedy and futility are evenly matched throughout this story, and neither can claim a decisive victory. — George Toles, Director
”I saw The Flick this past Sunday and left feeling that I’d seen an excellent production. The performances were great (in the case of Ivan, truly excellent), the set was perfect -so simple, yet striking the moment you walked into the theatre-, and the staging was spot on. However, I walked out without that feeling of profound impact that some art can leave you with. I was impressed, but not moved by Baker’s naturalistic script. Then I slept on it. One day, then two. And out of nowhere, I found myself with a nostalgic longing to be back with Sam and Avery, watching them sweep and mop each and every aisle in that theatre, to listen to their conversations and be part of their day to day. That’s when I realized the true genius of the play. When you’re in a routine, whether it’s your day to day at school or at work, it’s easy not to recognize the comfort that it brings. In the moment, it feels monotonous. Then, as soon as you step away, that quiet nostalgic longing for its comfort begins calling. Normally, these feelings occur after being part of something for months or often years. The amazing thing about Baker’s script and this wonderful local production of it is that it brought me these feelings after spending only a few hours with the characters in their little movie theatre. It wasn’t until I spent some time apart from their day to day monotonous world that I was able to recognize how much of an impact it had had on me. Thank you to everyone involved for bringing such excellent independent theatre to Winnipeg!” — Kai Chochinov