By Amy Lee Lavoie. Directed by Lauren Taylor. A Touchstone Theatre production, in association with the Firehall Arts Centre. At the Firehall Arts Centre on Friday, June 1. Continues until June 9
“It’s so simple. I need to know that you’re listening to this. To me.”
It’s not much to ask of the person who assaulted you, and yet it’s everything. In the world premiere of C’mon, Angie!, Amy Lee Lavoie’s brilliant and necessary new play, this is all Angie (Kayla Deorksen) wants from Reed (Robert Moloney), and we spend 80 incredible minutes in an intense and honest dialogue that illustrates just how difficult it will be for Angie to get what she needs.
It’s the morning after a one-night stand, and when Angie confronts Reed about violating her, he is blind-sided. It’s impossible to say whether it’s willful or feigned ignorance on Reed’s part that he’s so outraged and shocked by her accusation, and the power dynamics between the two are a bit more complicated than if they were two strangers. Reed is older than Angie, rich and suburban, a father to a little girl, and married to Angie’s boss. Angie is poor, lives in a small studio apartment downtown, and is single. She’s been to Reed’s home. He’s fantasized about having sex with her. In fact, at one point he tells her, “You can’t control fantasy. And you were my fantasy.”
Lavoie’s script is intelligent and vital, vulgar and funny, and exhaustingly, painfully real. There’s a reason that so many women were laughing at Angie’s cutting sarcasm, and gasping and muttering to themselves under their breath so often in recognition and shared frustration. It was also jarring to hear so many men laughing at Reed’s entitlement and his refusal to take accountability for his actions over and over.
For example, when Reed says “I’m never going to be spontaneous again,” it’s him demonstrating yet again that he’s not listening to Angie and that he still doesn’t get it—and those laughing in the audience don’t get it either.
Director and dramaturge Lauren Taylor cultivates the intensity of C’mon, Angie! without ever exploiting it. Taylor makes the space as safe as possible—considering the triggering material—for both the audience and the actors by staging the play in such a way that Angie always seems in control. It’s cathartic and a bit of wish fulfillment to witness the clarity with which Angie’s able to articulate her anger and hurt, her exasperation and fear. She’s had her share of #MeToo moments, and refuses to take the blame.
Reed keeps trying to push back onto her, and she won’t be manipulated or gaslighted or feel sorry for him.
Moloney is masterful as Reed, and Deorksen is a revelation as Angie. Her delivery is at turns bone-saw sharp and heartbreaking. C’mon, Angie! is visceral, important, life-changing theatre, and could play a critical role in helping advance the cultural conversation around sexual assault, consent, and coercion.