Terminus is a raw and powerful eventFebruary 18, 2011
Philly Mag's The Philly Post
Friday, February 18, 2011
I remember seeing Daren Aronofskys Requiem for a Dream in the theaterthrough splayed fingersand praying for it to end. Not because I thought the movie was horrible. Rather, the characters destructions and degradations were simply unbearable.
Similarlythough really not similarly (as there most definitely wasnt a refrigerator monster)was when I first saw Our Town. I couldnt help but check my watch as the slow-paced, bare-set play started. Yet after a while, the sparseness ebbed, and the impact settled in.
There are pieces of theater and cinema that are simply hard to get throughsometimes so tedious, so anguishing, that you dont think you will ever make it. Yet somehow, once youve reached that last moment, that last beat, all the work seems worth it.
Of course there are those pieces of art that torture but provide no redeeming value. Like Jane Seymours Open Heart Necklace, Justin Beiber, or the storylines on Glee.
Like the former, the Abbey's production of Terminus at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a raw and powerful event. For two intermission-less hours, we look into a mirror (or window) that has exploded inward, listening to verse monologues of three characters named A, B and C. We listen to As story of her ill-fated attempt to save a pregnant ex-student; Bs supernatural, last night of her life; and Cs death at the hands of a Demon.
I use the verb listen because that is what is required. Each inhabits their own space for the entire pieceonly moving when it is their turn to take up their monologue once again. Never once do they physically interact with the other actors. Only verbally, as their lines overlap at the end of ones section and the beginning of anothers.
It is the immense skill of the actors Olwen Fouéré (A), Catherine Walker (B), and Declan Conlon (C) and the writer/director Mark ORowe (writer of the indie film Boy A) that you are never bored. With razor-sharp script and the actors dexterity, these violent and visionary stories come to life.
By the end, I felt exhausted (and a little relieved). But also energized.