I admit to having felt some trepidation before seeing AROMAS last weekend. Oh great, I thought, a middle-aged man writes about a a woman doing sex work.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Andrew Faiz has written and directed a nuanced, thoughtful, and intellectually challenging monologue about a woman who makes her living being whoever her clients need her to be to get where they want to go. Her racks of costumes are right on the stage, for us to see. We are invited into the lady's bedroom, which, for her, is a kind of stage. She sees her work as a performance, a variation, of a sort, on her former career as a skater in ice dancing shows.
Andy Fraser gives a very subtle and controlled performance, gently, but decisively taking the audience on a journey that illuminates her personal history, her current working life, and how she came to be where she is. Her acting choices are terrific.
I also loved the simple, elegant set by Brandon Klieman, consisting of floor-to-ceiling, old-school, hotel room keys, behind a filmy panel of curtain. The set reinforces the show's invitation to explore who we are when we are in an intimate space with someone to whom we give ourselves, with whom we are free to completely be ourselves.
It is the great gift of the script that it passes no judgement, offers no sermons, gives no lectures. The protagonist simply looks in a clear eyed and compassionate way at the way things are for her, for her clients, for her parents, for a woman who nearly killed her, for her former colleagues from her skating life, and for the other women she knows who do what she now does for a living.
Many people write about this subject matter, but few do it well. AROMAS is a well-written play, well-directed and very well performed.
This is the final weekend of performances of the elegant and sharp-minded production. Go with a good friend. You'll have a great conversation afterwards.
I also saw Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD a few weeks back. If you haven't made it into a cinema to see it yet, I highly recommend it.
I'm going to the SHAW FESTIVAL tomorrow and to NUIT BLANCHE on SATURDAY. We'll talk again soon.