Reviews - Fringe 2019

Under Where?

By Brian Morton
Published July 21, 2019

"Under Where" is a simple yet thoughtful production that explores "unmentionables", the most often hidden garments that lie between a woman's skin and her outer clothing.

Local Hamilton actor and producer Annalee Flint has written her first staged play, a monologue that begins around the time, just before the start of the First World War, when corsets and stays physically restricted a woman's movement and created the "tiny waists" that often led to health issues.

In just three scenes, each one interspersed with some erotic shadow puppetry on a translucent room divider as she changes costume, Flint's play carries us through to the era of the 1940s, when the silhouettes of women changed profoundly with bullet bras and tight knit sweaters.

Through the pinup girls like Lana Turner and Marilyn Monroe, we see how the male gaze informs the fashion choices that women make.

Director Liz Buchanan does a fine job keeping the pace quick and lively and also choreographing the slightly raunchy scene transformations.

In the final scene, Flint takes as back to her own teenage years roughly fifteen years ago, and recalls the phenomenon of the "thong". This section of the work felt more authentic to me, as Flint seems to be recalling elements of her own life and her desire to attract the attention of boys by being deliberately provocative.

I hope that this work develops into a full-length play, perhaps by adding an additional actor to it. I have found in recent years that one person shows are over-saturated on the Fringe circuit these days, making finding an audience harder than it once used to be.

Still, the ideas behind this play are very important and I trust that a more fully developed version of the script will yield even more significant discoveries.

I found "Under Where", even when presented in this early version at Tourism Hamilton, has a great deal to say. I applaud Flint for sharing this work using only her voice. It takes courage to take centre-stage for the first time with only your own words. Bravo to that!

Brian Morton is a director and playwright, and was the recipient of the 2013 Hamilton Arts Award for Theatre. In 1988, after two years training in Montreal at the National Theatre School of Canada, Morton was the founder and first artistic director of Theatre Terra Nova, which operated out of a 100 seat theatre on Dundurn Street. Three years after that, he was a partner with Guy Sprung in the Evelyn Group, which reopened the historic 750 seat Tivoli Theatre, as a venue for live performance with a production of Douglas Rodger’s play “How Could You, Mrs Dick?”, which dramatized the story of Hamilton’s notorious Evelyn Dick. With Theatre Erebus, he produced the UK premieres of four Canadian plays for the 1990 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His stage adaptation of Sylvia Fraser’s “My Father’s House”, has had five productions, since it debuted in in 1992, at the Dundas Centre for the Arts. Morton’s “New Talent” was the highest grossing show in the 2008 Hamilton Fringe Festival, and in 2010, it toured to the London and Toronto Fringe Festivals. Brian’s original musical, “Under the Apple Tree”, about a shooting that happened backstage, at the Lyric theatre on Mary street in November 1921, debuted in the 2018 Hamilton Fringe Festival, and was presented at the 300-seat Zoetic Theatre; it got a second run at the Pearl Company, this past November. Brian was also the producer of the 2012 Hamilton Fringe Festival. He is currently a drama critic, and arts journalist for "VIEW Magazine", and has also published articles in the “Hamilton Spectator” and the “McMaster Silhouette”.


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