Adam Lazarus’s one-man show is the most provocative and shocking production I have seen at this year’s fringe. This is a performance that clearly seeks to stir its audience into an emotional response and start an important conversation, which (in my book) is the only legitimate reason for making use of shock value.
It is impossible to sit back passively and watch Daughter. Lazarus’s character engages with the audience throughout, occasionally asking difficult questions and waiting for an actual response before continuing. This man opens up to his audience and reveals the moments in his life that he is not proud of along with the thoughts and circumstances that led him to acts of violence and shame. It is difficult to leave the auditorium not feeling conflicted, horrified and distressed.
“the most provocative and shocking production”
My only questions are: in the wake of the #Metoo movement and the host of theatrical responses and female voices speaking up, what does Daughter contribute? Why present an audience with such hideous and shocking examples of toxic masculinity without proffering a way forward? There is no doubt that this production succeeds in initiating discussions but aren’t these discussions already happening? Saying that, this production sparks the right conversations more readily than anything else I have seen engage with the same issues. Yes, it is unpleasant and uncomfortable but the truth about misogynistic views and behaviours is that they belong to complex human beings and so the solutions are unlikely to be cut and dry.
Lazarus is an extraordinary talent. No one-man show will provoke such a strong response as this one. This is a production you should see once, but you will never want to see it again. It will probe the deepest, darkest corners of your humanity and leave you feeling weak and abused.
Daughter is playing at CanadaHub in collaboration with Summerhall, Aug 9-12, 15-19, 22-26 at 12:30 pm. Tickets available here.
Image: Adam Lazarus
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