Don’t be fooled by the silliness of its introduction. The Trophy Hunt is not a comedy.
Taking place outside on the grounds around Granville Island’s Ron Basford Park our first introduction to The Trophy Hunt comes from our newbie guide Amy. Our only inkling that what we are about to witness is perhaps a little more serious than she leads us to believe is in the liability waiver we sign. Safety first, Amy says between her nervous jokes and laughter.
Asking us to hang onto a rope as if we were kindergarten children, Amy leads us through the park to three waiting storytellers. This is when things get a lot more serious.
Based around big game trophy hunting, the trio of stories may be related but there is a strange lack of connection between them. This lack of cohesiveness becomes starker by the much lighter tone initially set by Amy and which continues as she leads us from scene to scene.
The first stop is a story based on the 2015 killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. Told from the perspective of the shooter who is vilified online and in the media, it adds little to the discussion that has already taken place since that time. It is never clear what playwright Trina Davies is attempting to say.
The second scene is more successful as we listen to a South African big game guide who is having second thoughts about her profession. Again though, Davies sidesteps a substantive exploration of what drove the guide to the job in the first place and why, despite constantly referring to her clients “assholes”, she continues to feed the need for killing these animals.
The final scene holds the biggest surprise, although there is an initial confusion when the reveal comes given the rather silly song about bears Amy leads us in prior to our arrival. Without wanting to spoil things, I will say that despite the picnic baskets and Amy’s song, this is not a story about Yogi.
There are some interesting thought-provoking kernels in The Trophy Hunt, but none of them truly delivers the impact they should. The connection between the three is not only tenuous, but the tone between them is downright confusing.
The Trophy Hunt continues at Ron Basford Park (next to Performance Works on Granville Island) as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Visit vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.