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REVIEW: The Hooves Belonged to the Deer packs nimble appearing, fast storytelling

Tarragon Theatre doesn’t propel into a simple exploration of faith. It’s solely a prelude, transferring shortly into three intermeshed tales about queerness, colonialism, race and religion.

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To start with man created god.

So begins The Hooves Belonged to the Deer, and it isn’t lengthy earlier than the early inhabitants of the world capitalise the “G” and assign extra authority to the deity. However this preliminary revamping of Genesis by actor-playwright Makram Ayache and Tarragon Theatre doesn’t propel into a simple exploration of faith. It’s solely a prelude, transferring shortly into three intermeshed tales about queerness, colonialism, race and religion.

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On the centre is the queer teenager Izzy, a Druze (not “druid,” as his pal Will insists on calling him) Muslim not too long ago immigrated to small city Alberta along with his household. Izzy, performed by Ayache, is crushing on Will (Eric Wigston) however is scared as as to whether it is going to be requited. In one other sense, he’s very scared that it is going to be requited. He’s additionally deeply afraid of his dad and mom discovering that he’s gay.

Parallel to this story is one other following Pastor Isaac (David Ley) and his spouse Becky (Bahareh Yaraghi). They’re trying to have a household however there’s additionally the matter of his son Jake from one other relationship, who’s struggling on the streets of Vancouver. These names are important. Outdated Testomony allusions and allegories abound right here, but it surely’s not essential to dig out your King James to wring sense of them; all it is advisable to know is that the charming and seemingly good natured Isaac is set to make up for his failings as a mother or father by coaxing younger Izzy into turning into a very good Christian.

The third story winding via is that of Adam (Adrian Pavone) and Hawa (Bahareh Yaraghi), recognized to Christians and Jews as Adam and Eve. The couple’s life within the Backyard of Eden is interrupted by the arrival of the out-of-time Steve (Brett Dahl), who’s on a quest for a kind of fruits of forbidden data everybody has been speaking about. Anybody who has ever scrolled via spiritual or proper wing social media will instantly decide up that the title “Steve” has not been given at random. They’ll even be very indignant at how this specific aspect thread performs out.

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That’s a number of data to feed an viewers in a efficiency that hardly breaks an hour in size, however Ayache’s script and Peter Hinton-Davis’ route strikes issues alongside properly till you decide up the rhythm. It helps that the set of pink sand, a desk, a smooth circle of sunshine and a ladder that reaches past the ceiling can double for something within the narrative, and that the actors themselves are nimble, doubling up on roles. Ayache himself is terrific because the troubled but endearingly candy Izzy, whereas Wigston provides some levity to the proceedings.

This can be a advanced piece that calls for a certain quantity of focus, however whereas it’s dense with allegory and allusion it’s not excessively heavy. There are moments of lightness and revelation, adolescent horniness and humour. A dreamlike high quality pervades, completely in step with the autobiographical facets taken from Ayache’s life.

The Hooves Belonged to the Deer may need your head swimming by the top, however this isn’t stated as a foul factor. There’s tons to chew on, and a minimum of one quote close to the top that might be taken both as simplistic irony or as a honest summing up: “Allah doesn’t make errors.”

The Hooves Belonged to the Deer
When: Till Nov. 4
The place: Westbury Theatre, Fringe Theatre Arts Barns, 10330 84 Ave.
Tickets: $25, obtainable prematurely from fringetheatre.ca

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