Wanted, If Not Wed Needs More Script Development

Wanted, if not wed

Wanted, If Not Wed, created by Toronto performer Jennifer Gillespie, is a play that delves into the reasons behind why women remain single either through circumstance or through personal choice.

Constructed using interviews conducted by Gillespie and brought together by references to Chekov's play Uncle Vanya, the show is an exploration into the commonplace misery of women when love brushes past them like strangers in a crowded room.

But, for me, there was something missing from the show. I felt it was scattered and suffers from "abundant material syndrome". This syndrome forces many writers to create scripts that strive to be poignant, relevant, and meaningful to everyone. The script tries to hit each and every meaningful moment from the source material in an effort to fit everything into a single performance. It is obvious that Gillespie wants it to mean something. But what actually happens is that the script drowns under its own weight. The show gets close but misses the target on each point it is trying to make.

The source material for the piece is unique and the performances of each individual characters are decent. Jennifer is a competent performer but she appears unable to break from her natural accent. There are times when the characters are just not unique enough to become real. This show isn't bad but I didn't find it particularly amazing either. I won't go so far as to say people shouldn't see it because, I think, people should. It is such a great idea and the material has a whole lot of grit and passion in it. I think it is worth fleshing out the performance and to build it with a different structure to give it an extra punch. I look forward to what more we will see from Gillespie because she isn't going to disappear any time soon.

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By Shane Birley