In April 14, 1912 two actor/dancers (Patrick Conner and Matthew Romantini) play the Marconi officers on board the Titanic– it is a time before cell phones, before even ship-to-shore telephones – anything that needs to be said to someone not on board the ship must flow through these two conduits of communication, as a result they become custodians of the most intimate and prosaic messages: “I love you”, or “I forgot to water the geraniums”.
titanic, would you board her? Photo Credit: Lindsay Anne Black
It wasn’t lightly that I walked into Performance Works Theatre, knowing I was attending a performance about genocide. I tried to be good humored about it: “Ta-tah, off to see a little play about human atrocity – see you tomorrow!” I exclaimed to my colleagues as I left the office.
Strips of white elastic hang from the ceiling. They create an ever-changing backdrop which sometimes feels like a forest, sometimes like a curtain drawn to give us sight into Townsville - a small town filled with the remaining few survivors from some unspoken world disaster. Townsville brings forth what the world would be like if it were run by a gaggle of showboaty teenagers. Sometimes insightful, sometimes self-centered, but always a full character exploration.
Michael Redhill's play Goodness is partly inspired by the genocide in Rwanda, as the program notes explain. Yet the veteran Toronto playwright has chosen to craft a script where the conversations about goodness, war, ethics and revenge, could apply to any of the genocides that have happened in the last century.
For me, the success of April 14, 1912 hangs on two death scenes. One is of a man, the 1st Marconi (telegraph) Officer on board the Titanic (Matthew Romantini), drowning in the sea. Both legs and one hand are on the bare stage floor, but the rest of his body is convincingly in an environment hostile to human life. And he surrenders to it at last.
All the previous Magnetic North Festivals have featured a production showcasing the students and emerging artists of the host city. This year, it’s the turn of Vancouver’s The Chop Theatre in a co-production with Studio 58, Langara’s well-regarded theatre program. The Chop are probably the coolest of the younger generation of theatre companies in Vancouver.
Anyone who is vaguely interested in attending HIVE2 should go, at once, and not read anything about it before hand. Don’t even let anyone tell you what they saw there last night, and that includes this review. The next paragraph is safe, but the one after that should be avoided, along with all that follows.
Some people – usually men and, in my experience, often English – like to make lists and rank things in order of excellence or bestness. In making their lists of the Greatest Movies Ever Made, they usually rank Godfather II ahead of the original Godfather for, of course, it is “the sequel that was better than the original”.
There is a scene – maybe half way through blood.claat – where the mother of Mudgu, the play’s central character, appears. The scene takes us back approximately three years to when Mudgu had her first period, before her mother’s departure for Canada.