By Hollie G. Davies for Eventful Capital
“Don’t you feel all tingly when you spend money that you don’t have?”
This week, I checked out the latest play being presented at Ottawa’s Gladstone Theatre. This time around, I was amused, entertained, somewhat shocked, and a little bit turned on by the theatre’s current production, “Bankrupt”. Written by Stephanie Turple and directed by Kevin Orr, this unique and beautiful play was originally created in French. However, following suggestions to have it translated, it was adapted to English by Theatre 4.669, and was then pitched to Plosive Productions.
Theatre 4.669 is known for creating and producing new works, while Plosive Productions was formed in 2010 with the mission to produce the kind of works that Ottawa-Gatineau audiences want to see. And they did just that with “Bankrupt”.
It’s obviously evident from the title of this production that the plot’s main focus surrounds money and financial problems. Anna (played eloquently by Gabrielle Lazarovitz) is a young, attractive woman who stumbles into the office of a bankruptcy trustee, James (Richard Gelinas), and is torn between filing for bankruptcy or avoiding this fate by pursuing a second career as a prostitute, in order to make more money. Spoiler alert: Anna decides to take the prostitution route, and you wouldn’t believe her clientele. Featuring musical interludes by Ottawa-based avant-garde pop noir band The PepTides, the play carries a Broadway-esque, show-tuney vibe geared towards a mature audience. It’s tragically funny and sexually explicit, containing a shameless monologue about achieving orgasm.
As Anna becomes entwined in James’ entire family (including his ex-wife-turned-lesbian and frat boy son who’s looking to restore the family business), the two begin to fall in love. Although there are some hurdles along the way – their age difference, James’ dislike of her chosen career over bankruptcy, and her involvement with his family – they manage to work through the details and the audience is happy to bear witness to a lovely ending.
Honourable mentions go out to Teru Loretto-Valentik (who plays Miranda, the ex-wife) “who is doing this show as an offering to the money gods in the hopes they will like it and leave her be”, and Diego Arvelo (who plays Juan, the son), a very comical actor who was hilariously on point. Something also has to be said of the talented Scott Irving of The PepTides who effortlessly played the keyboard throughout the play. In “Bankrupt”, Scott’s character is “fascinated by monetary bankruptcy and what it might imply about the moral kind”. Finally, a special shout-out goes to Rebecca Beardsley and Heidi Spencer, two vocalists who were part of the chorus and integral to the musicality of the production.
“Bankrupt” is being presented at The Gladstone until March 14, 2015 with nightly shows Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary, so consult The Gladstone’s website for more information.