If we are to work, then what are we to work for?
That’s the central question running through This, Here, a new play from Vancouver’s Babelle Theatre. In the play, three characters who have all come to a crossroads in their lives gather on the Sunshine Coast.
“All three are at the point of abandoning what they’re doing or deciding to continue on,” said playwright James Gordon King. “They meet, support and ultimately try to help one another get through.”
The play is set in Gibsons Landing, where Alison (Olivia Hutt) and Maddie (Sarah Vickruck) have come from Toronto to help Alison’s father Brian settle in. Both Alison and Maddie, who have been together for two years, are dissatisfied with their careers; Maddie is burnt out from running a small catering business, and Alison is frustrated with her acting career. Brian (David Bloom), meanwhile, is a playwright who can’t finish the play he’s been working on for the past five years.
King and director Marie Farsi founded Babelle Theatre four years ago. Rivulets: Three Short Plays About a Flood, their inaugural production, garnered seven Jessie Richardson nominations (and won for King’s script). Movements 1&2, their second production, premiered in 2016 to sold-out houses. The company’s mandate is to mount shows that appeal to millennial-and-younger theatregoers.
The two believe that the themes in This, Here will resonate with that group.
“They’re really interested in that question of how to live, and whether or not having a career is a worthwhile endeavour,” King said.
He cites as inspiration a friend who decided, after two years’ practice and thousands of dollars in education, that law wasn’t for her.
“Often people don’t know that something isn’t for them until they try it,” King said. “This friend that’s moving out of law — there’s no rational conversation you could have had with her previous to that transition. I’m hoping through theatre to explore this territory.
“We’re interested in using theatre as a metaphor for being, to ask questions about how we relate to one another in the role, what roles we play, which are most important, which are arbitrary and fake. I feel like those sorts of questions are on a lot of millennials’ minds.”
Farsi thinks that the idea of a young woman returning home to spend time with a parent is relatable across generations.