How much does pain weigh? How light does love make us feel? These are the questions that Marina Gomes and Brian Haight’s play Now What? explores through a physical form of theatre known as Contact. Through contact acting, Gomes and Haight give weight to both the emotional and physical impact of relationships, delivering something unique in the process.
During their morning routine, Jared and Isabel, played by Haight and Gomes respectively, lean on and share each other’s weight as they brush their teeth. The couple perform the sort of acrobatics that only two people who love and trust each other would ever dare execute together.
When a car accident leaves Jared unable to walk, Jared and Isabel’s relationship becomes strained as they try to deal with the new dynamic between them. Isabel carries Jared on her back as she tries to complete their morning routine, but the weight of her unhappiness and Jared’s anger is too much. She and Jared fall to the ground.
Gomes and Haight stir a deep, emotional response with the simplicity and honesty of their movement. They successfully capture the sort of intimate connection that makes two lovers at a loss for words when they try explaining to friends what they share or how the other makes them feel.
However, while the play’s Contact elements are interesting, the writing leaves something to be desired in terms of delivering a tight, cohesive narrative. Jared and Isabel are a means for Gomes and Haight to showcase what contact acting can achieve in terms of expressing the indescribable. Everything else exists only to help Gomes and Haight reach the brilliant concepts they have written the script around. The result is a weak script that tries in earnest to pull all its elements together.
Gomes and Haight’s Now What? displays exciting thought and perspective on the nature of relationships. Script issues aside, Gomes and Haight’s experiment with Contact is a serious effort that ultimately delivers its audience a powerful experience.
Presented by Girl Meets Boy Theatre Company, Marina Gomes and Brian Haight’s Now What? runs July 31 – August 8th as part of the 2015 Calgary Fringe Festival.
For more information about the show and how to purchase tickets, visit: http://see.calgaryfringe.ca/events/466-now-what