Reviews - Fringe 2016

The Stronger

By Arthur Bullock
Published July 18, 2016

How does one define true strength? Is it physical power, wealth and influence, or strength of character? In "The Stronger", it is the lattermost variety that quickly takes center stage, and the question becomes "how much?"

In this retelling of August Strindberg's one-act play, we witness a meeting between two actresses who clearly know each other. The first woman, Amelia, is almost entirely silent, while the unnamed second woman is astonishingly open and expressive.

Everything we know about the characters, their history and their relationship is revealed through the second woman. The first merely reacts, showing bits of her personality through reactive body language.

The actress for the speaking woman is energetic, passionate and very convincing - when put together, all of her lines make for a very effective monologue. In contrast, the other two characters seem minor at best - even with Amelia's importance to the stated plot, she does very little to personally contribute onstage.

The show effectively belongs to the second woman, but the actress for Amelia is no less talented; her body language is subtle but effectively, easily matched the second woman's descriptions of her.

For the most part, "The Stronger" is a monologue, but the addition of a second participant is subtle yet highly effective. In four words, it's definitely worth seeing.

Arthur Bullock is studying communications at McMaster University.

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