FRINGE 2018: 25

25 is an exploration of how feelings are dealt with at different levels of maturity throughout one’s life. This is done through different characters reacting to various scenarios, as independent yet intertwining stories are told. The assumption we are led towards is that each of the characters are approximately 25 years old; some of whom act like mature, well-adjusted adults, and some of whom have yet to grow up.

Many of the problems that the characters encounter were heavy, serious issues of life and death, but the most brilliant part of these portrayals was where the focus of the conflicts lay. The conflicts were not the actual problems themselves—rather, the ways in which the characters dealt with them, the relationships the characters had with one another, and how those relationships played a role in dealing with the situation. There was always the balance of one character being the mature, responsible, fed-up adult navigating a difficult situation, with their only companion being a selfish, oblivious child. Although this formula was repeated in almost every scene, it never grew old. There was so much variety in the stories and characters that each scene was entirely enthralling.

The way the play itself was crafted was extremely well thought-out. The set and colour scheme was minimalistic, allowing for the focus to always be on the actors and their stories. The changes between sets and characters was seamless, even with time being taken to change clothes or re-arrange set pieces. Everything was done naturally and smoothly, and the brief moments between scenes gave the audience time to reflect on what we had just seen. Towards the climax of the piece, as the scene changes became more frequent, places and characters were stepped into easily both for the performers and the audience by simply changing the direction they were facing. The whole thing was very well planned, and every prop and costume was used creatively to convey seemingly endless ideas and meanings.

The stories themselves were all creative and varied, and they provided an excellent framework for delving into the concept of life’s different stages of maturity. Important questions were raised about the role that male privilege plays in one’s cognitive development, the lack of understanding that goes hand-in-hand with male privilege and immaturity, and the impact that privilege has on surrounding women. This aspect of the play planted the seed which grew into the realization that immaturity is disturbingly similar to narcissism. Whether or not that was intentional is debatable, but it was nonetheless a valuable epiphany.

25 is a work with stories that strike an excellent balance between being lighthearted and forlorn, while the characters are balanced in tandem between being adult and childlike. With the focus on the journeys that the characters took, conclusions to the stories were sometimes left unresolved, allowing our imagination to fill in the blanks—a risky move that paid off by further dragging my attention into the world they were creating. This piece was a series of relatable situations, relatable characters, and relatable existential crises. It was interesting, captivating and beautiful done, and absolutely worth seeing.