The Anorak, Adam Kelly Morton’s one man play, is an audacious difficult-to-ignore proposition: On December 6th 1989 Marc Lepine – armed with an automatic weapon and a knife – arrived at the Ecole Polytechnic of The University of Montreal and started a killing spree. Women were his particular target but his victims were a more diverse group. The incident became known as the Montreal Massacre. It’s a dreadful thing to say but a killing spree is much the same as another. Unless it’s about someone we know.
Mark Lepine himself is the someone we get to know. Much of his experience is ordinary: divorced parents, social awkwardness in adolescence, uncertainty about his place in the world. Occasionally something darker surfaces: his conflicted view of women, his disgust – or is it self-disgust? – for those in need. Still none of these can explain what’s about to happen.
As much as we linger in Lepine’s mind, his victims make a vivid impression. Is that the author or the character? Has the executioner such a clear understanding of his victims? Is the author betraying the character, in order to give us a moral anchor?
The monologue is delivered with irrepressible urgency by Felix Brunger. His Lepine projects a suffocated energy, like slipping underwater. He is engaging, inquisitive and good company but for the fact he is trapped in his own head.
That is a problem for the play itself: after a chilling, revelatory explanation of his choice of weapon, Lepine starts to retrace the same ground. In the last thirty minutes, he killer is revealed as a self-indulgent creature and the play is unable to resist the same path.
So we finish where we began: with bloodshed and a vision of hell of our own making. I still don’t understand the unfathomable. Can anyone?