“Compassion for Killers” is not a conventional theatre play. Written and performed by the same person, Christopher Cook, this show mixes very unusual theatrical elements: A one man show, an almost absolutely empty stage that lies in the middle of the bleachers, a black floor and black walls that also serve as blackboards throughout the play, little support of props and no visual or audio effects other than subtle (and very occasional) changes in lighting.
The storyline is centred in Connor, an individual travelling home in pursuit of his family roots in order to explain his actions. His journey is not limited to the train ride that is taking him home, but it also gets him into his mind to understand who he is. For this, he gets to remember stories and tragedies, sometimes even with an acid sense of humour, about his relatives and ancestors, and their relation to his own actions. Throughout the development of the play, elements such as references to Greek literature and to characters with the name Bren, are recurrent.
The uniqueness of this show makes it an interesting production to analyze. Running just over 50 minutes with no intermissions, it is rather a short play that will nevertheless tell an extensive story. Whirlwind Theatre Productions is presenting this production, which is featured at the Pacific Theatre (1440 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver) from July 27 through July 30.