Strange Bedfellows: A Play That Will Make You Think, Hamilton Fringe’s WHAT THE FEST?!
- written by Alyssa Pratt
From Rivers Productions, Ilene Elkaim, Ryan Perera, Ray Rivers, Valeri Kay, and Ridhi Kalra star in the play “Strange Bedfellows” as Donna, Phillip and Malia, a family who end up having to quarantine with Beth and Terry, a couple travelling from Florida.
This play cleverly brought much needed attention to the global pandemic in a way that made you want to keep watching and see how the people in the play would solve the conflicts that arose due to different beliefs during the two weeks of quarantine. Which also allowed the people watching to notice what they can incorporate into their lives to help deal with similar problems.
“Strange Bedfellows” is about a family, Donna, Phillip, and Malia, that invite a couple, Beth and Terry, into their home after their car breaks down. Soon after finding out that they have just travelled from Florida amid a global pandemic, the family now has to quarantine with the couple for 14 days according to the law. Following the actors through their experience in this very new and unfamiliar situation, we see the growth and learning that everyone goes through, including their truly outraged daughter, Malia, and how scary it can be to have someone going through the symptoms and stages of what could be covid-19. Throughout the play, the actors address many different problems and attitudes, specifically differing attitudes towards the severity of covid-19 and how the government has tried to contain it.
The editing and the recording were very well done. It was really interesting to see how the actors and producers came up with a way to create a full production virtually. They were able to make it look like all of the actors were in the same room by using greenscreens and changing the image projected, as well as cutting different clips together, making it look like everyone was in the same room.
The company made great choices in their topics of conversations in the production. The topics were controversial, but they were brought up in a very natural way that was interesting to watch. The production shines a light on things happening right now and I liked hearing the conversation about how certain people in the states in places like Florida, a state mentioned in the play, aren’t taking things seriously and are putting themselves and everyone around them at risk of contracting covid-19 and potentially dying from complications. Having people in my family that are considered at high risk if they get covid-19, I personally get very angry and upset when people are not following the guidelines like staying 6 feet away from people or wearing masks in places where that isn’t possible and putting other people’s lives at risk.
One specific moment that stood out to me was when Terry first started to realize the severity of the pandemic. It was a powerful moment in that he had come so far and opened himself up to a new perspective and idea that then made him become more cautious and caring of the people in his life and others that he may not even know. This specific moment gave me hope for others who may not be taking this seriously and putting other people at risk that they may change their perspective and those taught behaviours can be unlearned and retaught in a better more progressive way.
The ending was quite good. The production was able to tie up all the loose ends and end on a positive note. The characters learned new and different perspectives, demonstrating to the audience that everyone still has something to learn.
Watch “Strange Bedfellows” and all Stream Out Loud / Skip The Glitches – On Demand shows until August 9th. Buy tickets or a pass today: https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/what-the-fest-hamilton-fringe-28135728029