rEvolver Festival: How Should You Be?

Cast: How Should You Be? Credit: Rae Takei
Cast: How Should You Be?
Credit: Rae Takei

At The Cultch, May 18, 21, 22 and 24

Posted May 18, 2014

A brighter-eyed, more bushy-tailed bunch of performers you’re unlikely to find anywhere outside of Studio 58. And that’s where How Should You Be? was born; as a project for fourth term students, it was part of the 2013 Risky Nights series. The original production was created with Jonathan Seinen, Chirag Naik, Lili Beaudoin, Erik Gow and Rae Takei.

As spanking new graduates, this group of seven hit the streets and interviewed everyone from young to old, famous to infamous, strippers to Sikh priests. They put it all together with verbatim interviews and improv, choreographed movement and musical chairs, as well as questions from the audience submitted on little bits of paper. It’s risky. It’s bold. Sometimes it works; sometimes, not so much. But it’s packed with the kind of chutzpah only the young can muster.

Directed by Georgina Beaty for the rEvolver Theatre Festival and presented by Architect Theatre, How Should You Be? Is minimally staged: seven wooden stools, seven table lamps with different coloured shades wrapped in string. No music. No fancy lighting. Just in your face theatre.

Caitlin McFarlane kicks it off with a heartfelt monologue about love. And here’s where it got tricky for me. This ode to love sounded like it came right from McFarlane and that felt good. But as the show unfolded, I began to realize that maybe none of it was from personal experience and all of it arose from the interviews. Obviously the Sikh priest who seems so ‘evolved’ (but breaks off the interview to answer his cellphone) is one of the interviewees and the young woman who says she can make six hundred bucks a night with “this body” isn’t in real life a recent Studio 58 grad.

I wanted it to be personal. I wanted to know how these young adults really feel. What do they think about assisted suicide, hockey violence, marriage, Harper, bicycle lanes, climate change and sexual activity amongst thirteen and fourteen-year-olds? I’d really like to know.

I enjoyed How Should You Be? and I love the show’s energy and playfulness. It’s refreshing and entertaining. These young actors are as much fun to watch as a basketful of puppies. But while it’s never fair to criticize a show for failing to do what it never intended, I wanted the real goods. I wanted to know, from the perspective of young adults, how should you be? because I still haven’t figured it out. Or maybe at twentysomething I thought I knew and have forgotten and need a reminder. You know, out of the mouths of babes and all that.

Performers are Laena Brown, Claire Lachapelle-Johnstone, Vincent Leblance-Beaudoin, Julie Leung, Caitlin McFarlane, Zac Scott and Brett Willis. Smart and spunky, what will these kids from the halls of Langara College get up to next?