Post-Democracy: argument instead of discovery

publicity photo for Post-Democracy

Actors Kristian Jordan and Alicia Johnston on Brian Perchaluk’s set. (Photo by Leif Norman)

Strong acting. Taut dialogue. Handsome set. But there’s no thematic revelation.

In Hannah Moscovitch’s Post-Democracy — which is receiving its world premiere at Winnipeg’s Prairie Theatre Exchange — a Chief Operating Officer named Lee is trying to convince his boss, Bill, to purchase a company in an unnamed Spanish-speaking country. But Bill’s daughter Justine, who is his Chief Financial Officer, can’t stand Lee and the sleazy male-dominated culture of harassment he embodies.

Their company is already dealing with a potential scandal and, sure enough, Lee is just as big a creep as we suspect when we first meet him.

Moscovitch deals with sexual violence against children, the corporate exploitation of poor nations, and the hypocrisy of everybody who benefits from the system. You can’t fault her ambition.

But Lee is a relentless, virtually unnuanced villain and everything breaks as you expect it to, so even though sharp dialogue and conflicting objectives keep individual scenes tight, there’s no fresh insight.

The cast in this Prairie Theatre Exchange Production is solid. I particularly appreciate the moments of vulnerability that Kristian Jordan and Alicia Johnston find in the roles of Lee and Shannon, who is the company’s fixer.

The sleekly modernist set, which separates each character on a separate plinth, is by Brian Perchaluk.

POST-DEMOCRACY By Hannah Moscovitch. Directed by Thomas Morgan Jones. This Prairie Theatre Exchange production is available to stream until April 25. Tickets cost 35 bucks.


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About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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