Arts & EventsOh Behave with Behaviour at the GCTC

Oh Behave with Behaviour at the GCTC

Oh Behave with Behaviour at the GCTC

All photos by Andrew Alexander

Behaviour is the latest theatrical offering at the GCTC. For a quick 90-minute, no intermission play, it covers a lot of territory, some of it heavy. It is critical to note that this play was begun before the #metoo movement which makes it more poignant and powerful had it been written after. 

One of the first themes of Behaviour is an insider view of the hierarchy, power plays and political games that are part of Parliament Hill. Anyone who has worked on the Hill will find it all humorously entertaining. Playwright Darrah Teitel captures it because she herself was a staffer. The long hours, thankless work, underappreciation, egotistical MPs, low pay, unexpected developments, intrigue and crises are definitely all part of political life. It may sound horrible but the thrill of being there also comes through for those who like that sort of thing.

Her protagonist, Mara, is an underpaid, PhD graduate Hill staffer working for an eclectic, egotistical MP. The pace is fast and while we never see the MP, her chief of staff, Jordan, offers a clear picture of what the MP is like in a funny but realistic way.

Mara appears to be a quirky, lovable, if not naïve, character who goes with the flow. That is just on the surface. As the play progresses, we learn all is not as it seems.  She has endured countless counts of inappropriate sexual behaviours at the hands of many, including her husband who she leaves.

As her story unfolds, she is far more complex, ultimately leading her to unveil her experiences to the police. She has a very powerful speech near the end of the play, her description of the seven types of rape.

There are other themes brought into the play, such as motherhood, family relations and the wisdom of those who are older than us.  Without spoiling the plot, Mara ends up living with her grandmother and those are some of the best scenes of the play.  Her grandmother is a hilarious character who again, on the surface appears one way but ultimately shows she is wise, strategic and above all, no fool. The plot twist that then follows is brilliant.

The acting in the play is fantastic, without exception.  Deena Aziz steals the show as the grandmother but Sarah Kitz nails it as Jordan, the chief of staff, executing every whim and wish of her boss. ZoŃ‘ Sweet pulls off every aspect to Mara, from quirky lover, to protective mother, to scarred woman from abusive situations.

Some of the scene transitions, those that switch to showing Mara’s inner turmoil, are a little confusing but it doesn’t take long to catch up and overall this is a well-spent 90 minutes that will make you think about the actions of others, but also of your own responses to difficult life situations.  It is a fascinating play.  This is the world premiere of the play and I look forward to seeing it again in the coming years to see how it develops with time. It runs until March 31, at the GCTC.

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