Presented by Bird On Stage
Set in North Bay, The Inevitable Frankie Green introduces us to down-and-out siblings, Frankie (Robert Leitner) and Eva (Cali Schlosser). Dealt a crappy hand from the beginning, they cling to each other on the rough outskirts of society, struggling to avoid the snares to which their drug-addicted mother succumbed.
Frankie isn’t doing so well. As he falls victim to his own addiction, he focuses whatever scant energy he has left on protecting his sister and resenting their dead mother. In the role, Leitner is an emotive, captivating presence. Depictions of abject humanity can descend into misery-spectacle, but we simply can’t objective him here, he’s too real.
This production would be even more thoroughly riveting if the actors paired with him could match his nuance. As Eva (and their late mother), Schlosser is sympathetic enough to carry the scenes, but doesn’t quite achieve the same persuasive truth. A third performer, Matthew Cava-Ferraro, portrays the mysterious suited man—William Beaumont. He undermines the sinister mystique of his character with an affected, actorly delivery.
This is a shame. Garrett M. Ryan’s script turns this potentially corny, fanciful sci-fi conceit into a fascinating and, eventually, sympathetic person. Beaumond is a junior executive from the ominous department of “Canadian Appraisals.” As a sort of case worker, he pops in and out of Frankie’s life—observing, prodding, guiding—allowing him to decline into oblivion. And, eventually, determining if he is of value to society or not.
As this unsettling figure intrudes on his life, Frankie starts to become unmoored from tangible reality. He drifts back and forth in time, reliving painful moments and imagining impossibly joyous futures.
The production is minimal yet atmospheric. I loved the soundtrack, an ever-present Canadiana that runs through their lives, though the sound transitions could be smoother. The final scene is given plenty of room to breath and is both poignant and eerily beautiful.