Factory Theatre’s latest offering, the world premiere of a new Canadian play BANG BANG written and directed by Kat Sandler, expertly engages with some of the most difficult issues of today. As funny as it is thought provoking, BANG BANG is a captivating, poignant story which is able to resonate with audience members of all kinds.
BANG BANG explores what happens when a prominent news story becomes the subject of a piece of art, and the ramifications on the people involved in the original event. What the “truth” is and how it gets spun by the media, the author of the play, and further on from there becomes more and more muddled the more the story is told, retold, and restructured with every iteration it goes through. But then there is this idea of “artistic licence” and at what point does the story extend past the original individuals involved and become a living thing on its own?
All of these issues, along with all of the emotional repercussions of the event on the police officer who is the focus of the play, are all hashed out in the posh living room of the police officer’s mother. The author of the play, as well as an actor and his bodyguard (a former officer himself) all converge on the house of Officer Lila and then the mayhem begins. The witty dialogue and very real emotions of the characters creates a total range of reactions from both the characters and the audience; from laughter to tears to fear and relief, BANG BANG takes the audience through it all.
Guiding us in this journey are the amazing five actors who comprise the cast of BANG BANG: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah as Lila the officer, Karen Robinson as her mom Karen, Jeff Lillico as Tim the author, Sébastian Heins as Jackie the tv/movie star, and Richard Zeppieri as Tony the bodyguard. The incredible dynamic these actors share on stage creates the amazing experience that is BANG BANG. Their emotions, raw and pure, come through in every situation and it makes the play so easy to be absorbed in. Their performances are incredible, and give their characters such brilliant life; it’s truly a pleasure to behold.
Sandler hits on an issue which as an artist I worry about myself: do I have a right to tell this story? Or rather, from Tim’s point of view: why don’t I have the right to tell this story? When you know what societal “categories” you fall into, and the characters in the story you’re telling are different, are you still allowed to tell that story? Tim has the best of intentions with his play, hoping to draw attention to major issues which plague our society. Yet for Lila, what he wrote really happened to her but liberties have been taken with aspects of the situation, and it becomes all the more painful because to her it is not her truth. This is the beauty and pain of art; once it has been made and given over to the public, it ceases to belong solely to the artist, and then it is open to interpretation. As soon as it becomes open to that interpretation, intentions can become misconstrued and purpose isn’t always fulfilled in the way the artist imagines. It is something that as a director I struggle with every time I sit down with a new play, and like Tim, all I can hope for is that the choices I make illuminate the text and the audience, and that I haven’t overlooked something that might unintentionally offend. It is a delicate balance that one must always try to keep in check.
BANG BANG will leave you thinking, laughing, and full at heart. It is an experience not to be missed! It opens tonight and runs until February 18th.
For tickets, you can go to: https://www.factorytheatre.ca/book-tickets/
For more information about the play, visit: https://www.factorytheatre.ca/2017-18-season/bang-bang/
Photo from: https://www.factorytheatre.ca/2017-18-season/