Shanley's much-produced 1984 play is a favourite for actors, a neat two-hander with lots of opportunity to swear. This is often called "gritty realism", but you should be alerted by Shanley's subtitle "An Apache Dance" that the play is a fantasy.
In fact, Shanley explains, "An Apache Dance is a violent dance for two people originated by Parisian apaches. Parisian apaches are gangsters or ruffians." (Nothing to do with the Apache Nation.)
The dance, quite a fad in Paris (1910-1920), was an emulation of an abusive domestic brawl, with the woman as victim - the man tosses the woman around, drags her by the hair, throws her on the floor. So that's the "choreography".
We are already a couple of layers into fantasy here. Shanley then takes this choreography and rearranges it to make a redemptive parable, and the play loses its emotional believability. But you were warned.
The current production in The Hamilton Fringe is performed by a pair of theatre students at York University who are to be applauded for getting out there and doing it. Jamie Maczko does a fine job as the angry Danny.
Kaitlin Janisse tries but needs to dig deeper. It's hard to follow her down into her self-loathing. I wish the production had taken more care with its look - the set is an odd mish-mash and I don't know why, and that orange top is way too middle-class.
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