Reviews

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

Rose Burkoff

Early in 26 the Western Theatre Conspiracy in Vancouver mounted a daunting one-man show, Will Eno’s new play Thom Pain (based on nothing), at Performance Works on Granville Island. Scott Bellis starred as Thom, a rumpled neurotic loser who spills his guts while peppering the audience with jokes and stunts, and teasing us with the spectre of audience participation. Bellis went above and beyond the call of duty in his portrayal of this unpleasant, odd but compelling character. Thom’s outlook is a little too bleak for me and too predictably rooted in childhood trauma and romantic betrayal: he transcends the mundane by taking the indignities and annoyances of daily life to a new level of pessimism. Between the barbs and bile there are glimmers of hope, though—pleas for us to be grateful and conscious of everything that’s good in life. “What if you only had a day to live? What would you do?” asks Thom. “What if you only had forty years to live?” It’s a question the play can’t completely answer, but one that definitely made the audience think long after the stage went black.

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