by Yanik Comeau (Comunik Media / ZoneCulture)
Developed in Teesri Duniya Theatre’s Fireworks Playwrights’ Program, Oliver Koomsatira’s Psycho 6 is concrete proof that a nurturing, generous, solid play development program that offers legitimate support to playwrights for them to tweak and refine their work is an essential part of creating meaningful, rich, laser-sharp productions of smart, significant works.
Not to say that the original script for Psycho 6 wasn’t great. I wasn’t there when it was first submitted to Artistic Director Rahul Varma or former Associate Artistic Director Liz Valdez to read but what I saw Friday night was clearly the culmination of efficient workshopping by a great bunch of artists coming together to create a brilliant production.
Although Psycho 6 might be a strange title for this story, Oliver Koomsatira’s script takes us inside the life and times of K, a troubled young man whose familial, cultural and financial environment pull him down and away from his hopes, dreams and potential. Trying desperately to make ends meet with a troubled, single-parent mom who can’t keep a job and blows the rent money on drugs and a 12-year-old sister who needs medication, K is pulled into an escalation of crimes to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. In and out of foster homes since the age of 9, the now adult young man has to deal with the downward spiral of an unforgiving society that judges him harshly and doesn’t care much for a high school dropout of colour who has more of a criminal record than a professional resume.
No doubt Oliver Koomsatira’s raw, street- and straight-talking monologue is on point but his awesome performance is even more brilliant, his moving acting, beautiful movement and flawless rapping all contributing to this multi-talented artist blowing the audience away on opening night. His charisma and amazing stamina go a long way in making K a lovable anti-hero and the numerous un-supportive supporting characters believable. Liz Valdez’s brilliant direction is filled with smart little bits of fine tuning including clever prop and costume staging that allows the performer to quickly and flawlessly transform or have scenes blend into each other. Valdez insures that all elements of this production – Christine ML Lee’s brilliant music and sound design, Nalo Soyini Bruce’s creative costumes and Zoe Roux’s flawless yet edgy lighting and set design – come together with the help of Stage Manager Elyse Quesnel and Technical Director James Douglas. Although the cordless mic must have caused Quesnel to freak out on Friday, Koomsatira managed to breeze through the awkward situation which was no doubt resolved on Saturday.
Psycho 6 is both an efficient piece of entertainment (thanks to Oliver Koomsatira’s impressive acting, dancing/movement, and rapping skills) and a reflective, moving and thought-provoking piece of conversation stimulator. Kudos to Teesri Duniya Theatre for developing such an engaging production.
Psycho 6 by Oliver Koomsatira
Directed by Liz Valdez
Starring Oliver Koomsatira
With the voices of Paul-Eric Hausknost, Prerna Nehta, Sean Ryan, Mahin Sekendra and Lily-Jolie Hausknost
Assistant Director: Alessandra Tom
Stage Manager: Elyse Quesnel
Lighting and Set Designer: Zoe Roux
Sound Designer: Christine ML Lee
Costume Designer: Nalo Soyini Bruce
Production Manager: Masha Bashmakova
Technical Director: James Douglas Photos: Jeremy Cabrera
A Teesri Duniya Theatre production
From June 10 to 23, 2022 (approx. 75 mins, no intermission) Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm
MAI, Montréal, Arts Interculturels, 3680 Jeanne-Mance Street, Montreal
Box office: 514-982-3386
Tickets on Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.ca/e/psycho-6-tickets-308446049437