17 years on from their last play, and an ocean of encounters in between, Tina and Bobby are back. Meeting in their park, their latest encounter has a spark underlying waiting to ignite from the very moment. The sense that the pair aren't comfortable together, but can't bear to be apart lurks beneath their conversations as little drips of their history and what transpired in these 17 years come to us.
Under Ken Gass' direction, the story ebbs and flows beautifully as the pair race into their united truths, then throw on the breaks, only to find themselves racing again. The taut timing Gass elicits from the script speaks to his inherent understanding of Walker's style. The piece is superbly performed by Wes Berger and Sarah Murphy-Dyson; at first, Berger's Bobby feels a bit stiff, however as the play runs forward, we see that this stiffness was intentional, as he remains guarded against the truth that neither will speak. Murphy-Dyson offers a powerhouse performance, demonstrating an immense specificity in what might in a lesser actor edge toward melodrama. The pair spar verbally and at times physically with great intensity and nuance for the 75 minute script.
My only qualm would be that Walker gives us just a touch too much exposition, particularly related to people we don't see. The true strength of the script is that it is just two people, doing things to one another incessantly, both intentionally and unintentionally; and we don't need anything else.
The Damage Done runs until Dec 11 at Canadian Rep Theatre.