In These Three Things, The Page Theatre and Standing Room Only (SRO) have co-jointly produced three distinct one-act plays connected by themes of love and relationships, leavened by a lot of humour. The title is derived from the biblical admonition: “Faith, hope and love…we should abide by these three things”. However, love is one matter, relationships are another. The overarching theme, as outlined in the program notes, is that whatever problems couples have, there is an intrinsic love which remains—even if the relationship doesn’t.  

The first play, Acrobats, by noted and prolific American playwright Israel Horowitz, is a short but strong and impressive play. The story involves a married couple played by Darsey Meredith (wife) and Parker Heuser (husband), who present an acrobatic show on stage while engaged in a bitter argument over their marriage, close to the break-up point.

Acrobats contrasts the physical need of the couple to absolutely trust and support each other during their acrobatic routine, while emotionally feeling the opposite. Director Taryn Kleeband succeeds in creating a perfect harmony of movements and words. Both Meredith and Heuser prove to be prepared and coordinated.

This play very adeptly combines acrobatic movement with dialogue that contrasts but relates to the physical action on stage (“I don’t need you…I wish I could drop you…I really want you off my back”). This one-act play offers a very interesting, novel, and well-executed concept.

[Alexandra Wilson and Ray Boulay in Post-Its: Notes on a Marriage]

The second two-person play, Post Its: Notes on a Marriage, by Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman, is also captivating and well-executed by husband and wife team Ray Boulay and Alexandra Wilson (also co-directors). The tale depicts (with much humour and sincerity) the couple’s marriage from beginning to end-in 20 minutes-with dialogue consisting entirely of messages left to one another on Post-it notes.

These multi-coloured notes also serve as an important element to the staging as they are flung about and end up strewn over the stage. The direction here is much more dramatic than a 1998 performance of the same play by authors Dooley and Holzman. The theatrical experience of the two leads and their personal connection is obvious throughout.

Joe Hinks in Wiser
[Joe Hinks in Wiser]

The third play, Wiser (actually presented in the middle of the trilogy), is a stand-up routine by Joe Hinks, directed by Tracy-Lynn Chernaske. Joe plays a man named Wiser (the name of the play) who recounts a bit of his early life but focuses on his first meeting with his wife, subsequent marriage, and his alcohol addiction (“Wiser” is also the name of a whiskey). Of the three, this is the bleakest depiction of relationships, defined by the conclusion that “she’ll fail him and he’ll let her down”. 

The use of about a dozen umbrellas of different colours, sizes, and designs as props makes for an interesting and effective presentation. Also encouraging is the use of music. Joe Hinks has a very melodic voice, and the combination of the umbrellas and lyrics such as “singing in the rain” serve well to illustrate his definition of his life (“when it rains, it pours”).

Wiser depends on one person to present two lives, obviously a harder task to pull off than the other two plays that depict an interplay of two strong characters, each with their own point of view. Joe Hink’s singing voice (as noted above), confidence as a stage performer, and engaging personality add enormously to the show.

One weakness was the time spent (wasted?) at the beginning, repeating the same things. Tightening up the presentation by focusing strictly on what the author aims to get across about relationships would strengthen this work enormously. 

SRO and Page have succeeded in presenting three interesting and unique stage works-with visually strong presentations-despite minimal sets. This was obviously a labour of love as well as being about love. I look forward to catching more productions from these companies. 

These Three Things continues nightly at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island through Sunday, July 27, with a 2 pm matinee on Sunday.

Photos courtesy of Standing Room Only and The Page Theatre.

About Our Contributor Michael Pigeon

Michael Pigeon

Michael is a long-time Vancouver resident who's recently returned home after living abroad for over a decade. Michael enjoys reconnecting with Canadian culture through the Greater Vancouver theatre scene and being retired in a city that offers so many opportunities to live a healthy, engaged lifestyle.

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