The aura of the small theatre was one of uncertainty: in the background wind whispered secrets while low yellow light illuminated the set. Before the action onstage started, the atmosphere was thick with questioning and unease.
The Ends of the Earth, written in 1990 by Morris Panych, is an existential comedy in the style of a detective film noir. Erin Johnston, who plays Alice, describes the plot as “two men running from each other who collide.”
The line perfectly sums-up the plot: Frank, played by Hugh Cape, and Walker, played by Phil Demers, are two men whose egocentricity and paranoia has led them to believe one is following the other. After coming face-to-face, they are forced to confront that the entire ordeal is made up.
Director Margot Dionne calls the play a “parable for our times,” describing the piece as a philosophical and spiritual journey of two male main characters, Frank and Walker, and the entire cast. Each character is suffering at the hands of ego-based woes. They are alienated and isolated from the world, trying but unable to make connections.
Dionne thinks this play speaks directly to our contemporary moment because the work “addresses spiritual malaise, that feeling of disconnection from selves and society.”
Dionne says the play captures emotional depth and truth because it’s a comedy. She says “comedy more easily allows truth to shine through,” because the audience can recognize themselves in the two main characters are. When asked about his character, Demers says, “its all absurd, but not funny.”
The two main men start to understand there is more to life than constantly living in fear. Toward the end, Walker says to Frank, “Sorry for being so impulsive. It’s the strain of being alone in the world that does it.” The two men hug and Walker looks into Frank’s eyes and in a quiet genuine realization says, “ I feel better.”
In an age of doubt and skepticism, Panych helps the viewer recognize that “fear will follow you to the ends of the earth.”
Although “looking, digging, searching,” for connection with the world might be a clichéd concept, it is contemporarily applicable nonetheless.