New Ideas: week two opening

Another rainy day for this opening – but at least it wasn’t rainin’ down slush like last week and it cleared by early evening – and another four plays. This time, the house was sold out!

Reflections (by Flora Stohr-Danziger, dir. by Annie MacMillan) is a memory drama: Matilda (Susan Q. Wilson, last seen in After Magritte) comes across a photograph of herself as a young woman (Anna Ross) and her mind is cast through time into her past (Marisa Crocket plays her as an older adult). The cast also features Morna Wales and Adrian Yearwood (also from After Magritte). A lovely and wistful piece – and nicely cast.

The Hidden Word in My Vocabulary (by Richard Ballon, dir. by Andrew Freund) is also a family drama – but presented in the abstract with movement and voice. If at first you think this is a wanky art piece, give it a moment – the dialogue is lyrically poetic (and reminded me a bit of Dylan Thomas), the soundscape hauntingly beautiful and the story becomes clear as the play unfolds. A strong, versatile cast: Carlos Finch, Robert Rainville, Thia Sterling, Vikki Velenosi and Dinah Watts.

Summer’s End (by Francine Dick, dir. by Kerri MacDonald), another family drama – but with lots of comic moments – features actors Heather Mann, Alyssa Faith Owsiany and Candi Zell, and was the subject of my fly on the wall posts. It’s come a very long way since the stumble-through (when the actors were only half off book and still sorting out blocking), now tightly paced and edgy – and MacDonald had a lot to do with that. Darkly funny and an excellent cast.

Eve’s Prayer (Act I) (by Kelsey Blair, dir. by David Suszek) rounds out the comedy of the second half of the evening. Set in an office in heaven, Eve (Meredith Heinrich), Mary Magdalene (Erynn Brook), St. Augustine (Mark Farmer, also playing newspaper man Paul) and even Jesus (Shawn De Souza-Coelho) spend their day granting prayers. Eve is already having difficulty doing her job when supervisor Peter (Greg Corkum) informs them they have to meet a daily quota or face expulsion. Actors Roselyn Kelada-Sedra and Tina McCulloch (also marketing/promotions) multi-task as Prayer Chorus (along with De Souza-Coelho), playing various supplicants, and David J. Phillips is wickedly funny as Lucifer, who pops in and out to mess with Eve’s head. And this was just Act I!

Kudos to the box office and bar staff, headed up in this case by Margaret and Mike Spence, respectively – and to Elisha Hew for the fabulous reception spread that followed.

I’ll be out of town this Saturday, so I’ve asked guest/back-up blogger Tina McCulloch to cover the week two reading for me (as if she didn’t have enough to do – she’s also rehearsing Having Hope at Home at Amicus). So I’ll be posting that early next week.

Till then, get out and NIF!

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