Michel Marc Bouchard is having an Ontario festival this year, with Stratford doing Christina the Girl King last summer, Shaw doing The Divine this summer and Buddies in Bad Times presenting Tom at the Farm. I am a fan of his plays, so this is a bonus for me!
Tom at the Farm sounds like a nice innocent play, reminiscent of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, but it is anything but a nice family play. Instead it is almost two hours of intense emotion as Tom deals with the fact that his lover’s family were unaware his existence and convinced that he had a girlfriend.
Tom’s descent into farm life and the blood and gore that are part of the life is gruelling to watch, but gripping. He deals with loss and grief, while the lover’s Mother and Brother do the same in their own ways. Macabre is an adjective that comes to mind to describe some of the action in the play, particularly in the interaction between Jeff Lillico (Tom) and Jeff Irving(the brother) but I hesitate to use it because I don’t want to take away from the power of the play.
The audience was mesmerized and sat in silence for long moments at the end until finally erupting into applause.