The play was work-shopped during four performances in May 2011 in Victoria, B.C., Canada
Distortion tells the story of Alex Dysart, a gifted musician at a performing arts academy who suffers from dyslexia. The show moves backwards from Dysart’s attempted suicide to the two weeks leading up to his crisis and his interactions with his family, fellow students and teachers.
The characters are all talented musicians and they move back and forth from Debussy and Beethoven to a range of contemporary songs that are interwoven into the themes and characters. The play is a contemporary look at an education system that struggles to accommodate learning exceptionalities, while at the same time, explores the concerns of twenty-first century adolescents. The play ranges from the distortion one seeks on an electric guitar to the distortion that makes us believe kids with learning disabilities are “dumb.”
Aristotle’s Poetics explores the lives of people who live with pain, whether physical or psychological. At the centre of the narrative is the struggle of Rob Kingsley, a middle-aged poet suffering from severe diabetes, which leaves him in constant pain and affects his ability to write. He begins to teach a literature class at a local high school and soon finds that he is not the only one in pain. Each of the students in his class suffers from their own internal strife and each is forced to explore their methods of coping over the course of their classes with Mr. Kingsley.
Told both through traditional narrative and more abstract means, Aristotle’s Poetics presents a frank and honest portrayal of the effects pain has not only on the sufferers but on those around them. Dark themes are explored unflinchingly without trepidation as the story delves into flawed personalities and brings up a raw reflection of its characters’ struggles.