Evaluate: RE:CONSTRUCT Charms Edmonton

Today is the best day ever. There’s no better time to embrace your current self, honor who you once were, and make peace with your unmet expectations. Initially written by Even Gilchrist for the 2018 Ottawa Fringe Festival, Re:Construct features humorous and heartfelt conversations between a young transgender man and his idealized cisgender self. Directed by Sarah J Culkin, this short but sweet 50-minute production plays Edmonton’s intimate Backstage Theater and stars dynamic duo Émanuel Dubbeldam and Geoffrey Simon Brown.

The audience is immediately drawn in by Dubbeldam and Brown’s larger-than-life characters. Dressed in matching green polo shirts, brown shorts, and party hats, the unnamed protagonists regale viewers with positive affirmations and impeccably timed comedy while skirting around a trolley bearing a cloudlike white cake. The script brims with anecdotes ranging from laugh-out-loud funny to thought-provoking while deftly exploring themes of toxic masculinity and gender dysphoria. The characters’ emotions are emphasized by Even Gilchrist’s video projections depicting meme-worthy images and feverish montages of stereotypically hypermasculine men. Whittyn Jason’s emotive lighting design shifts with the characters’ moods, bathing the stage in festive primary colors and evoking moonlight as the characters ponder the night sky. Though the ending comes suddenly, Re:Construct is a unique experience that encourages audience members of all gender identities to explore what it means to be their own authentic selves.

Re: Construct plays the Backstage Theater at Edmonton’s ATB Arts Barns until June 12. Masks are mandatory for all audience members and proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for both June 10 performances.

Photo by Brianna Jang.

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