After a mysterious disappearance, a search for a missing girl reveals a complex love triangle
Next to George Brown’s Casa Loma campus, Tarragon Theatre has premiered the English-language version of Abyss.
The play, written by Maria Milisavljevic and directed by four-time Dora award winner Richard Rose, is set in the German city of Berlin. The plot is narrated by a young woman whose character is only labelled as “I” (Cara Pifko), whose close friend Karla suddenly and inexplicably disappears.
Karla’s boyfriend of four years, Vlado (Gord Rand) referred to as “HE” and Sophia (Sarah Sherman), Karla’s roommate and sister of the narrator, referred to as “SHE” help in the search. All three have roots that lie in Serbia and Croatia and now live in Berlin.
As the action begins, Karla has just gone out to the corner store to get cheese for the pizza that she, Vlado and the narrator are planning to have for dinner—but she never returns.
Slowly the story begins to unravel and reveal itself, and while Karla is Vlado’s girlfriend, the narrator is his long-time lover.
The police are unhelpful during the first week of Karla’s disappearance, so the three friends take it upon themselves to find her. Tensions rise, mysteries reveal themselves and the bonds of relationships are tested throughout the course of a very cold and bleak month.
The mystery of finding Karla travels across the European underworld and Russia, where Vlado knows many people in that world who will try to solve the mystery of his missing girlfriend.
The three actors hold hands throughout the eighty-minute performance, occasionally shifting position but never letting go until something happens. Each of them literally work as one throughout the entire piece, co-ordinating their every word, movement and gesture.
Adding to the existing mystery of the play is the minimalistic set. The three stand on a raised platform that makes it look like they are floating on this small area, on some vast darkness.
Sarah Sherman, who played Sophia or “SHE”, is a graduate of George Brown College’s theatre school. She describes the play as being deep and complex, saying, “it’s more than a love triangle, it’s a complicated relationship between these young people who are kind of like a little family.”
Sherman played the widest range of roles, from the neutral voice of a rabbit killing manual to the narrator’s sister. She also plays Karla’s mother Varvara, a woman in the Russian quarter who sees a man with Karla’s bag, and Goran, a man in the Russian quarter who is the eyes and ears of the area.
“It was definitely difficult learning all the lines and not getting confused switching between characters,” said Sherman. “In the entire play I navigate between five or so characters, so that was definitely a new challenge for me in preparing for this role.”
Sherman also offered a piece of advice to students currently at the theatre school. “Keep your notes. I found myself going back to my old notes from school to prepare for this role,” said Sherman.
Abyss is playing at the Tarragon Theatre at 30 Bridgman Avenue until March 15.
Discounted tickets are available with your student ID.