“When you’re in the shit up to your neck, there’s nothing left to do but sing.”
Reviewing can be such a tricky business in that in an ideal world you don’t judge a work of art on any criteria other than: did the artist(s) succeed in achieving the vision they had set for themselves? And yet how do we remove from the equation our own sensibilities or prejudices? The nagging voice pulling at us saying: “What about you? How would you approach this situation?”
I thought about that a lot when watching Ante Up Productions‘ And Now The End, playing as part of SummerWorks at Theatre Passe Muraille’s mainspace. It is an original musical concerning the lives of a handful of average folks faced with the knowledge that it is indeed the end of the world. The nagging voice was saying: “What would you do?”
What’s interesting about this ambitious and exciting project, which has several strong moments as well as occasional missteps—many of which are due to an unnecessary urge to indulge in exposition—is how all of the characters essentially continue their lives as normal, perhaps in an attempt to perfect their habits (imperfect though those habits may be), perhaps as a way of avoiding the dread knowledge of imminent doom.
I think whether or not one finds the idea of continuing to uphold a status quo during an apocalypse comforting or cynical, is to a degree based on age and sensibility, but there’s no denying that at the very least, the folks at ANTE would be sure to have you go out singing, and I find it hard to find any damning judgement concerning that vision.