It might sound cliché, but a simple “interesting” is the best word to describe Ghost and Spice Productions’ presentation of Why Torture is Wrong , and the People Who Love Them. The play, beautifully directed by Rus Hames, appears to be, at first glance, a stereotypical screwball comedy. The audience is immediately introduced to Felicity (Amanda Watson) , a young woman who wakes up after a wild night to find herself married to Zamir (Jeff Alguire), a violent tempered man that she suspects might be bipolar, a terrorist, a serial killer, or all of the above. After the opening scene, the show unexpectedly turns into a dark and strangely deep exploration of the often disturbing ways people treat and view one another.
Hames’ directorial choices are fascinating. He uses a large screen to broadcast images that set the mood and often the place of different scenes. Throughout, various related political clips are shown, causing viewers to reflect on the show’s undertones and messages, of which there are several. In fact, there are so many that it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around all of them – but in a good way. This is a production that will leave viewers thinking for days to come.
The small cast does a great job of bringing this very odd set of characters to life. Alguire creates a darkly hilarious and oddly likable Zamir with his perfect accent and intimidating look. Fire-haired Jennifer Evans, who portrays The Dancer, The Voice, and a Tourette’s syndrome afflicted “Looney Tunes,” shines brightly in all of her scenes, leaving the audience wishing for more of her. But the real standout of the cast is Lenore Field as the overly-pleasant- and- cheery- but- definitely- about- to -snap Luella. Field is funny, a little bit frightening, and heartbreakingly sad as Luella, taking a character whose brilliance could easily be overlooked and making her memorable and vibrant in the minds of viewers.
There are no easy answers in Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them. In fact, many viewers won’t know whether to leave feeling happy, disheartened, or enlightened. For most, it will likely be a weirdly pleasing mixture of all three.