This year the theatre company, ‘Sarah, Mo, and We’re All Friends,’ presents a brilliant late Victorian-age ghost story known as Phantom Pain. And when Theatre SKAM is offering the studio space for them to present this performance as a work in progress, I’m sure there’ll be more shows to come as the rough edges are ironed out, and maybe get a revision or two. I even have my own suggestions (which I’ll address at the end).
In this story, a talented painter, Constance (Annalyn Kind), has not gotten over the loss of Fenella (Becky Miner). These two are soul mates. Sadly, consumption would claim the life of the blonde socialite. Their love is eternal. When they first met, the attraction was instant! Although that would form a rift with a mutual friend, Daisy (Tamra Marie), who was the girlfriend at the time, nobody could truly stay mad forever.
Although parting is such sweet sorrow (sorry Shakespeare), Fenella never left. She’s a looming spirit, dressed in white when she’s a spirit and carrying a gas lantern, watching and waiting for the right time to pounce. Despite an almost Marcia Brady-like demeanour in her living life and seen wearing a beautiful purple dress, what her presence represents is something a lot more sinister that I picked up on. What I sensed from her didn’t ruin what I’d expect to be the perfect gothic romance. I’m sure Sheridan Le Fanu (author of Camilla), would highly approve of this tale. Not only does this story deal with LGBTQ representation for that age, but also, in this world, it’s quite commonplace.
Kind certainly dived deep into the rabbit hole to deliver a powerful performance. Her ability to project kept me raptured, and Crawford’s ninja-like moments had me wondering if she was part of the scene, or was just staying in the know for when her next “appearance” should be.
Everyone gave their best on opening night, including the supporting characters of Edith (Annie Lucas) and Dr. Loughty (Matthew Gordon). Although the only distraction I found is with them holding the script, I get the sense this production is being workshopped. Suspension of disbelief is required, and I’m sure trying to memorise this screenplay would’ve been difficult.
With that in mind, I hope Phantom Pains will return sometime over the Halloween season. It deserves more than just these two performances this weekend, and I’ve listed the remaining show below.
The play might be given an additional makeover to include another favourite period piece of mine, The Picture of Dorian Gray. There were times I wanted to see the painting. Instead of having it facing away from the audiences, even a fleeting glimpse would be enough. Oscar Wilde’s story has been adapted to stage in the past, and I’ve seen Giggling Iguana’s version many years ago. While I realise that adding a sly reference can be considered overkill for this production, but I still couldn’t help but want to see what Constance worked terribly hard to correct.
Phantom Pain Full Credits:
- Written and created by: Sarah Shepherd
- Directed by Mo Hatch
- Stage Managed by Addie Tonn
- Annalyn Kind as Constance
- Becky Miner as Fenella
- Annie Lucas as Edith
- Matthew Gordon as Dr. Loughty
- Ta ra Marie Crawford as Daisy
August 27, 2023 3:15pm
at Theatre SKAM Satellite Studio
Tickets need to be bought in advance through Intrepid Theatre’s website.