Theory, Tarragon Theatre

Director Esther Jun loves the shock factor in the Tarragon Theatre presentation Theory where Sascha Cole as Isabelle (right) has no idea what she’s getting herself into.


Most ideas work far better in theory than they ever do in practice but don’t tell that to playwright Norman Yeung.

Not for the tolerantly intolerant–but most certainly yummy brain candy for the rest of us–this is a highly intelligible play that collides at the intersection of free speech and oppression.

Yes, indeed, in our golden age of endless communication channels you can say exactly what you want when you want but why would you when the thought police roam 24-7 waiting for someone to disagree with?  Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself handcuffed before the court of public opinion because there’s not a single defense that will trigger a dismissal.

Everything counts in large amounts in Theory including racial, discriminatory and hideously hurtful rants in the public domain. It features the emotional impact involving two university instructors (Sascha Cole and Audrey Dwyer) after their lives are turned upside down when a cauldron of hate boils over from an uncensored message board giving student participants total perspective immunity.

What’s remarkable about this story is how Yeung uses a film class assignment to expand a national discussion on supposed freedoms only to remind us of that society cannot have it both ways.  More than this, he imbeds one stifling surprise to illustrate the hypocrisy of its most vocal advocates.

As Lee, Audrey Dwyer is splendidly admirable in her portrayal of a higher thinking educator despite Sascha Cole’s stone cold serious Isabelle standing up for what she believes is right until events spiral out of control.

Smack dab in between them is Fabrizio Filippo’s let’s-turn-the-other-cheek and make-it-all-go-away Owen who appears to have the best intention for all parties involved.

‘Shutting down thoughts is not cool,’ insists the majority.

Perhaps not but Theory’s daunting commentary on the value of even allowing them to begin is most worthy of a non-discretionary discussion.


THEORY by Norman Yeung October 16-November 25, 2018 TARRAGON THEATRE EXTRASPACE, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto TICKETS $29.00-$55.00 416-531-863 CAST Bital Baig, Sascha Cole, Audrey Dwyer, Fabrizio Filippo, Asha James, Kyle Orzech, Anthony Perpuse DIRECTOR Esther Jun COSTUMES Michelle Bohn SET & LIGHTING Joe Pagnan PROJECTION Cameron Davis SOUND John Gzowski FIGHT DIRECTOR Jennifer Dzialoszynski STAGE MANAGER Robin Munro

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