A Beautiful View is a small piece of theatre, low-fi with a small cast and a short running time. But it’s hugely poignant in its small-ness. In fact, it’s because of this smallness that playwright Daniel MacIvor is able to capture the humanity of his characters so poignantly. Nothing really Happens in A Beautiful View (well, at least not until the rather dramatic end); it’s not logline-able. It’s just about two people being two people. And it’s at least a little bit about all that we lose when we try and define it beyond just that.
MacIvor’s unnamed young women- played intricately by Becky Johnson and Amy Rutherford- are not flashy creations. They don’t need to be. Because the focus is just on them and their relationship, the audience has the privilege of gazing into their complicated dynamic and seeing it for all the commonplace human ambiguity that makes it so complicated. Because we’re all that complicated, we just spend a lot of time explaining ourselves and creating simple frameworks for our relationships so that we never have to deal with the complicated ambiguity that lies over absolutely everything related to being a person.
We watch Johnson and Rutherford’s richly drawn everywomen meet, misunderstand each other, embarrass themselves, overthink things, fall in all kinds of love, confide in each other, hurt each other, hide from each other, and embrace each other (not in that order and not always in the ways you think) over a decades-long something that can be best described with that useful umbrella word “friendship”. The piece is funny and sad, the performances impactful and strong, but mostly the takeaway is the feeling that to dissect is to diminish so I will simply say that it is, indeed, A Beautiful View.
Sidenote: I would really like a recording of Tucker Finn’s featured song “Four in my Ever”. Please, somebody make that happen.