PuSh 2017: Concord Floral

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Concord Floral | PuSh International Performing Arts Festival | Roundhouse Community Centre | January 25 - 29, 2017

The cast of this show is comprised of teenagers from all over the Lower Mainland, some of whom have little or no theatrical experience. Despite (or perhaps because of) this fact, they were able to bring a refreshing authenticity to their performances. Created by Toronto artists Jordan Tannahill, Erin Brubacher and Cara Spooner, the play is based on Boccaccio’s The Decameron — but in this case the setting is a huge abandoned greenhouse called Concord Floral.

These suburban teenagers hang out at Concord Floral a lot — to have parties, to test the limits of their fear, and to escape from their bedrooms in the middle of the night. A large field of astroturf covers the stage, and the narrator, the greenhouse, speaks words of wisdom such as “a life without beauty is unbearable” and “life is infinitely beautiful because of death.”      

Our protagonist is a homeschooled girl who joins high school in grade 9. She is timid and unsure of how to act around the other kids, and one day when she wears the same sweater as one of the popular girls, she thinks she’s found a friend, a “sweater sister.” In fact, it is quite the opposite. The popular girl and her friend decide to play a prank, and invite the girl to meet them at Concord Floral. When they tell her that they’re all going to close their eyes and take off their clothes, then run through the dangerous greenhouse together, she goes along with it, even though she admits that she knew something was probably not right. The other two girls steal her clothes and run off.  

We’re told that 10% of the population is cruel, 10% is merciful, and the rest could go either way. After the cruel prank, the two girls are back at Concord Floral and they see what they think is a body in a hole in the floor. This sets off a chain of events where their guilt takes over and they feel as if a plague is taking over their neighbourhood.

Full of suspense and foreboding, this story grabs your attention and keeps it while these teens provide humour and genuine emotions, while leaving us with an renewed appreciation for the adventurous power of our formative teenage years.   

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