Shane Snow, Alison MacDonald

The Relephant Theatre Co-op is back with a heart-warming musical that takes place on the streets of NYC: Ordinary Days. The cast includes several Jessie award-winners and local theatre favourites, bringing Adam Gwon’s work to Granville Island’s Carousel Theatre. This is the same venue that had audiences raving about “The Exquisite Hour“, Relephant’s 2010 Vancouver Fringe Festival hit that later spent a longer run at the Revue Stage in 2012.

Gwon, a multi award-winning musical theater writer, created and composed a one act, 80 minute play that focuses on four characters, each coming from a different path in life, intersecting in and around a city that’s often lonely, frustrating, and uncertain. Themes of sacrifice and failure balance out the happier moments.

The stage is set with random props and lighting scattered around the room, including several empty art frames, tables, lamps, bookshelves, desks, and several seats right in the middle. According to Set and Costume Designer Jessie van Rijn, the large carpets are meant to represent NYC’s streets, with each theatre goer a citizen of its blocks.

Steven Greenfield, Jennie Neumann
[Steven Greenfield, Jennie Neumann]

Positive thoughts are written out by audience members and collected prior to the show, coming into play later on.

Julie McIsaac, the show’s director, also puts in fine evening of piano accompaniment, as well as sharing musical direction credit with Steven Greenfield (who lovingly portrays quirky dreamer Warren).

Claire (Alison MacDonald) and Jason (Shane Snow) are the couple de jour, who’ve just made plans to move in together. Typical expectations follow, and in a big, bad crazy city they soon begin to question their relationship. The other two roles, Deb (Jennie Neumann) and Warren (Greenfield) have a more interesting time getting their connection sorted out.

Warren’s house sitting in a beautiful city apartment with a view for an eccentric artist who’s currently in prison. Warren’s created a dead-end, thankless career out of collecting and distributing art and creative thoughts. When he finds Deb’s thesis notes (with an email address written on the back), he decides to make contact, to return the book to its rightful owner. He just might be curious about the woman behind those notes, too.

Jennie Neumann
[Jennie Neumann]

All four talents are entertaining to watch, but Jennie Neumann’s strong vocals and chaotic character are a standout. I also enjoyed her greatly as Tracy Turnblad in the Arts Club’s 2011 Hairspray.

Post 9/11 New York is alive and well in Ordinary Days. Gwon addresses several issues that we can all relate to, the centrepiece being connection. I took one of the play’s early quotes, “On the road of life, let no obstacle no matter how big or small stand in your way”, to symbolize New York City’s massiveness. Each character eventually feels overwhelmed in one way or another.

Ordinary Days continues through January 19th. Advance tickets at the very affordable $15 (plus service fee) are available online.

All photos by Jessie van Rijn.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.