I received this book from Playwrights Canada Press in exchange for an honest review.
“A girl in the body of a woman. Stuck between this world and another. Longing to be human again,” (Rutherford 7).
A woman runs into her former groomer and is surprised by her reaction when she sees him. In order to try to understand what happened all those years ago, the woman speaks with her teenaged-self and recalls the synchronized swim team she was on all those years ago.
This was a hard one to review. I think that Mortified is a very strong work. I enjoyed the interactions between the Woman and the Girl as they attempt to understand and come to terms with the abuse that they’ve experienced. Having the Woman be able to be in conversation with her younger Self through the girl is an interesting and almost surreal technique as Rutherford takes reader’s forward and backward through time.
The play has an almost buoyant feeling which is fitting for a play that includes synchronized swimmers, though honestly I thought this would be utilized more. But then again, that’s the difference between reading a play and watching one. I’m sure productions that put this piece on could make the synchronized swimmers much more active than they are in the written format.
I didn’t understand the point of the chronically ill character Shannon, who is shown twice briefly and who’s second appearance I guess is supposed to make an impact that just doesn’t because Shannon isn’t kind to the Girl, so why should the Girl sympathize when the audience can’t.
I also wish more had been said about Alisha. She was a good character but so much of her story is vague when we see her, only really coming together at the end. I’m all for things being vague so the audience can put the pieces together themselves, but this was so vague that no conclusion could be reached until Rutherford told us what it was. The same issue happened with the Girl, we see what’s happening but don’t have the pieces until other characters tell us other things that have been happening off-stage. It would have helped to be more aware of what was happening then to be cast out on the sidelines, it almost felt at times that Rutherford didn’t want to let us in.
Mortified is a surreal, difficult work that I wish let it’s audience in more. I believe that theatres putting this play on could better utilize this through clever staging and some strong acting. It’s a good play, I just think that on stage the full force of it could be felt by the audience.
Publication: April 5 2022
Publisher: Playwrights Canada Press
Pages: 128 pages (Paperback)
Source: Owned (Thanks Playwrights Canada Press!!!)
Genre: Fiction, Play, Theatre, Canadian
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤.5
A woman runs into her former abuser and is surprised by the power he still holds over her. In an attempt to uncover the truth of what happened between them, she recalls her adolescent self: a fourteen-year-old synchronized swimmer struggling to make sense of the world around her.