Deluge Theatre Collective’s production of Raw by Chris O'Connell directed by Tara Branham.
On trains, under bridges and in sidings, graffiti decorates the urban landscape, alerting the public to a darker, painful nightlife that exists outside most of our imaginations. Lex’s anger pushes her over the edge one night when she commits a frenzied attack on a young boy, which nearly kills him. Now they are all in hiding and peer pressure escalates to uncontrollable violence within the group as the “geezer bird” Lex begins to relive a pattern set by an abusive father.
Chris O’Connell brings the poetry of our youth’s obsessive compulsive behavior to the forefront in this stark, unrelenting drama. O’Connell peppers his writing with bits of humor, but what sticks out from the play is how the darker intent truly terrifies, because it is young girls providing the violence.
Allie Kunkler as Lex was outstanding in the role of Lex. This slip of a girl terrorizes everybody, yet the poignancy of her situation touches us deeply. Truly the play works because Kunkler’s performance is wholly believable and decidedly emotionally charged. Amy Geist as sidekick Trainers exudes tragedy without pity. An indelicate humor is provided by Chelsea Taylor Neal, practically incomprehensible with her accent, even to others in the gang. Chris Yearwood and Justin Verstraete strive to save the children from themselves, both actors giving solid performances and adding balance to the chaos of the story. The ritualized violence at the centre of the story results in what may be theatre at it’s most frightening.
Cast: Allie Kunkler, Amy Geist, Chelsea Taylor Neal, Chris Yearwood, Justin Verstraete, Sarah-Jayne Ashenhurst Schmid, Scott Allen Luke