The 20th Of November

When my good friend Brock Hessel offered me a ticket I was excited to go and also uncomfortable because I was sure this might be one of those plays where the full experience doesn’t fully register on me until days after. And this is just what happens when days after I see the show news breaks of the Harrisburg High School Principal, Kevin Lein who was shot and now I find myself conceptually in love with The 20th Of November because it has given me an entirely new framework from which to view these horrific events.

Standing out front of the Buddies In Bad Times a friend walked by and asked if we were excited to see the show and my honest reaction was “No, I’m feeling a bit sick actually.” And I was. The closer I got to being in the theatre the worse it felt. If you’ve even been bullied in school then you’ll remember that sinking feeling when the school bell went off, signalling it was time to be among the other kids. It was terrifying and isolating being the weird kid and so lunch hours, like recess, were marked with intense feelings of abandonment and fear. Now as an adult I stand here immersed in the rawness of this room; the stark set, the confrontational seating and intense lighting create a palatable oppressiveness, just like the lunchrooms, gymnasiums and bathrooms I avoided all the way through high school.

Was he the ‘deranged teen’ that the media was quick to made him out to be? Or was he just a normal kid that eventually snapped from societies pressure? Either way The 20th Of November provides a raw and provocative glimpse into a ‘killers’ mind while serving as a reminder that killers are not born, they are created by us.

20TH Of November by LARS NOREN, translation by GORD RAND, directed by BRENDAN HEALY, starring SINA GILANI, set + costumes CAMELLIA KOO, lighting REBECCA PICHERACK, sound + composition RICHARD FEREN, assistant director TANNISH TAITT, stage manager LAURA BAXTER

September 12 – October 4, 2015
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre

By Raymond Helkio

Raymond Helkio is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design, whose work has been shown at international film, theatre, and design festivals including Inside Out Film Festival, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, Design Exchange, Videofag, Art Gallery of Ontario, Glad Day Bookshop, Artscape and Nuit Rose.