Body thirteen is a beautiful picture of the cultural mosaic that makes up Canada. it really captures the spirit of Canada like very few other plays I’ve seen at the arts center with the possible exception of Justice. It follows the story of a number of characters of different races, countries of origin, and sexual orientations. It deals with issues surrounding sex, race, self acceptance and prejudice. Despite dealing with these very heavy themes and giving them the gravity they deserve the play is also utterly hilarious.
there is no real main character in this play it is a true ensemble piece. every character gets there chance to shine. Normally I would say that the play is wonderfully written and beautifully choreographed, but something I learned directly after watching it was that everything was improvised, with only the themes of the play predetermined. this is incredible. the first thing that you have to remember is that there are a couple of very dramatic and indeed heartrending scenes. Now I’ve never done much improv myself but according to my sister doing improvised drama is nearly imposable. Furthermore there were scenes such as the various characters dancelike portrayal of homophobia, or the haunting final scene. All of these scenes are apparently improvised, something i have nothing but admiration for.
The cast of characters and the actors who play them are amazing.
Pan Patal plays a grieving daughter who continually tries to spread her father’s ashes but finds herself feeling numb. She is also feels a attraction to Trevor Copp’s character, despite his less than admirable personality while at the same time recreating her relationship with her father with Badih Abouchaka’s character. Her performance captures the sadness and loss that her character feels while also capturing her feelings of rebellion and the almost explosive sexual tension with Copp’s character.
Badih Abouchaka plays a ex-military officer who feels estranged from the world around him and wanders around hoping to find himself. Despite being married he has realized he feels nothing for his wife and furthermore has begun to suspect that is gay. He finds a certain dark humor in the hopelessness of his situation and finds himself recreating his relationship with his daughter with Patel’s character. Abouchaka does a great job capturing both the tragic and the humorous elements of his character. His laughter at the painfulness of his situation is truly brilliant.
Jesslyn Broadfoot Plays a immigration officer who meets with one of her clients who is hoping to enter Canada. She finds herself falling for this client. Broadfoot does an excellent job of portraying both the cheery friendly nature of the character along with the sexual tension between her and Humsi’s character.
Nada Humi plays a recent immigrant to Canada. She hopes to stay both because of her love of the country and because if she goes home she will be killed. Nada does a great job showing the maniac energy of the character in a performance that is imposable not to enjoy.
Tawiah Ben M’carthy plays an African tribesman who frequently gives the other characters advise but finds himself afraid of the spirits from his tribe punishing him for his homosexuality. He does a great job of portraying both the characters wisdom and his fear.
Brad Cook plays a very nervous and twitchy man who finds himself attracted to M’carthy’s character’s natural conference. He does a great job portraying his characters nervous awkwardness.
Trevor Copp Plays a rather slimy and nasty character who is the best man at his friend’s wedding. He is afraid of growing old and spends much of his time attempting to seduce the attractive female characters. He is sexist, homophobic, and rather smug. Unlike the other characters in the play despite the various things that happen to him he doesn’t really change. This is not a play that really has traditional heroes or villain’s but this character fulfills a sort of De-facto villainous role representing people who cannot move towards the future. Trevor Copp does a fantastic job of portraying this character both making somewhat sympathetic through his insecurities and very funny.
Body thirteen is a beautiful touching play that will be available one more time tonight at the arts centre. If you want a play that perfectly sums up Canada then look no further than Body 13.