With our own 5@50 rehearsal cancelled due to bad weather and unsafe driving on Tuesday, I realized that I had an evening free for an excursion close to home, so I went to see the Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre production of Darrin Hagen’s new solo piece Metronome at the Backstage Theatre.
Metronome is lovely, a polished and moving example of the kind of solo performance I seek out at the Fringe festival. As part of the WWPT season in a spacious configuration of the Backstage space at the Arts Barns, it also has an exciting set design, floor to ceiling, from Beyata Hackborn.
Hagen is an relaxed performer and an understated writer, telling stories of growing up musical in a family without much money. The details of the Royal Conservatory examinations, (List A, List B, sight reading, ear tests, checking out the other candidates in the waiting room, wanting the extra 2% for being off-book) all came back to me with the memories of my own waits outside examination cubicles. The underscoring and the re-creation of teenage scenes cruising Main Street with the windows down or auditioning for some stoner dudes (sound design Jason Kodie) were all songs I didn’t remember until I heard them and then could hardly stay in my seat for the joy and movement they evoked.
I also appreciated that the story acknowledged the isolation and hazards of growing up LGBTQ+ in a small town in the 1970s, but left those as matter-of-fact background, a poignant reminder for those of us who experienced those settings and a gentle context-setting for those who didn’t, just as Hagen set the context of being less well-off than his classmates.
Metronome sold out on Friday and Saturday, but I believe there are a few tickets available for the closing performance on the evening of Sunday November 21st.