15 Seconds examines sibling life

By Christin Scholten

Imagine if the characters from Three’s Company were French Canadian and misplaced their Prozac. This is what we watch for 90 minutes in ATP’s latest production, 15 Seconds. The difference between the trios is instead of Jack, Janet and Chrissy, we have Charlotte, Mathieu and Claude–and the TV show was much funnier than this play.

The story centers around two brothers, Claude and Mathieu, who share an apartment. Their life seems stable until Claude’s new girlfriend Charlotte decides to move in.

Claude is the worst stereotype of a Generation X-er: he does nothing all day except complain about the government’s master plan to keep him on welfare his whole life. Mathieu is a man dealing with Cerebral Palsy, his angry brother and his own life, and still manages to have fun with it all. He longs for the same things as the rest of the population, especially love, which is one of the basic plots.

Of course,we must not forget Charlotte. She is a woman unhappy at her job, although she tries really hard to be enthusiastic about it, and she desperately wants to be wanted by a decent man. Lastly, there is Richard who makes his entrance in the first scene, and then is nicely tucked away for only two small, but important, appearances.

The actors themselves did as much as they could with the parts they were given. Edward Belanger (Claude) was convincing as the lazy, loudmouth pessimist. Rebecca Northan (Charlotte), after a few stiff minutes, came across perfectly neurotic and unsatisfied. Philip Warren Sarsons (Mathieu) gave the most impressive performance.

His ability to keep his entire body, especially his hands, in a constant spastic state was impressive. He pulled this off with such authority that there were a few moments when you questioned whether or not he was faking.

The playwright, Fran&#231ois Archambault, made a decent attempt to confront the life of a man with Cerebral Palsy, however much of the point is lost due to the over-emphasis on Claude’s chronic bad mood.

15 Seconds is enjoyable for those people who can relate to Claude’s "victim mentality." For the rest, it would be advisable to find another way to spend your time.

15 Seconds runs until Nov. 27, with a two for one show on Nov. 13.

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