So says Dinny (played by U of M theatre prof Bill Kerr), who is perhaps the most lost and lonely character, in a very lost and lonely bunch, in Irish playwright Enda Walsh's 2006 play The Walworth Farce
Don't let that title fool you, though - while there are some outrageously funny moments in The Walworth Farce
, it is a harrowing evening with one of the most dysfunctional families to hit the Winnipeg stage since August: Osage County
. And it's given a taut, professional production by local indie troupe The Incompletely Strangled Theatre Company, under the direction of local vet Arne MacPherson.
The Walworth Farce
Toby Hughes, Bill Kerr, Andrew Cecon (Caroline Wintoniw)
's curious, stories-within-stories-within-stories structure defies plot summary, but here's the gist: Dinny and his adult sons, Blake and Sean (Andrew Cecon and Toby Hughes), spend their days isolated from the rest of the world in their London apartment on Walworth Road.
Here, the domineering and abusive Dinny forces them to re-enact their family history in the style of a Three Stooges farce - complete with bad wigs, men dressed as ladies, people bumping into doors, and the odd frying pan to the head.
Or at least, they're re-enacting Dinny's version of their family history - and one of the central questions of The Walworth Farce
becomes the degree to which we can define - and possibly re-invent - ourselves through the stories we tell.
The result is a dizzying blend of low comedy and intense drama - and MacPherson and his cast commit themselves to it admirably. The action plays out on an attractively devastated set (designed by Jeremy Rampton). Just as their family is a crumbling wreck, so too is the apartment - bare studs are sparsely covered by the remnants of drywall sheets, giving us a clear view of each of the three rooms Dinny, Blake, and Sean race through as they act out the farce.
The sharp turns from physical comedy to cutting drama place incredible demands on The Walworth Farce
's actors, and the three mains rise to the occasion impressively. Kerr finds Irish charm in Dinny during the farce, but makes him convincingly menacing outside of it; Hughes, a member of the improv troupe Outside Joke, gets to show off his comic chops, but still brings a wrenching sadness to the conflicted Sean; and Cecon is a tireless bundle of nervous energy as Blake. Kimiya Yussuf rounds out the cast as Hayley, the only interloper into the family's farce. Her performance is more uneven than the others, but still hits some very powerful notes.
MacPherson directs with a deft ear for the shifting tone of the play, and moves the action in the 135-minute show along at an exhausting pace.
It's not light theatre, or for the faint of heart - but it is an engaging piece of theatrical storytelling. And at the very least, it'll make you feel way, way better about your own family's Easter dinner.
The Walworth Farce runs at the Atomic Centre (167 Logan Avenue) until April 7.