Presented by Strands of the Night Theatre Company
Kin is thoughtful story about the interruption of a young couple’s budding relationship, sending them on individual journeys of self-discovery. Written and directed by Henry Kemeny-Wodlinger (a grade 12 drama major at Etobicoke School of the Arts), this Fringe entry has the distinction of being produced entirely by high school students.
In a message left by his recently deceased father, Adam (Kemeny-Wodlinger) discovers he has a half-brother living in a small Northern Ontario town. Joined by his tentative girlfriend, Billie (Noa De Gasperis Tedesco), he goes on a road trip to find him. Tension arises and the two are separated.
Each of them have interactions with the locals of the town that force them to question their desires and intentions. Throughout, the ensemble cast—Catherine Thorne, Clare Fabbri, William Bastianon, Lia Ashkenas, Simaiya Shirley—fills in as supporting and background players.
The story itself is straightforward enough, but the elements are muddled. Though the script sounds natural, the characters aren’t particularly well-drawn. Their interactions are also under developed. Emotional stakes are raised quickly, but don’t feel earned.
The production contains some inventive stagecraft. Key props are used in clever ways to conjure images—like the suggestion of a car with headlights moving through the night or the ethereal presence of some mystical force that might be influencing them.
A lot of care has gone into this production and it touches on many intriguing ideas. On the whole, I didn’t find the experience very compelling. I do recognize the artistry and effort involved and hope they find appreciative audiences.