by Danny Gaisin
We shifted from being apartment dwellers to home-owners in March of ‘09. Five weeks later began renovations to our kitchen and its adjoining two-piece washroom. “No Holmes on homes” or HDTV for advice – just neighbors for local guidance & information, plus the experts at Home Depot® for ‘how to fix or repair’. Elizabeth Elwood’s play ‘RENOVATIONS’ may not have given us any insights into using a mitre box or table saw, but brought back memories of chaos and disarray.
The Mississauga Players, under direction by Deanna Moreira manage to capture the essence of physical disorder that overhauling and reconstruction- endemic to such an undertaking, is ‘a given’. Nevertheless, the plot deals more with sibling heirs and the improved financial status that is conferred by a windfall result from a recently deceased pater familias. However, mayhaps other previously unknown beneficiaries! The play could actually be called ‘Relations’ as the writer and performers must explore interaction far more extensively than Skilsaw-ing or power tooling.
The focal couple are portrayed by Andrea Serrador & Sammy Allouba. – The Tudges. She’s a marionette manipulator (like the playwright herself) and he’s self-employed. Allouba is almost convincing as the newly secure dominant male, but Serrador’s continually off-vertical posturing kept this writer waiting for her to fall on her face. Like the iconic Pisa tower – it didn’t happen. Neither is professional or experienced enough actors to overcome the rather slow-paced opening scenes. Another problem – both show weakness in projection and phrasing.
The Mike Holmes persona is ‘George Wood’ and Amir Moazammi’s interpretation is rife with cynicism; elaborate facial expressions, and an incredible stoicism in the face of way-too-many chefs sidewalk-supervising. In the latter category, Nancy-Jane Price’s annoying-sister portrayal is a close tie with Moazammi for scene-stealing. In support roles, the interaction between Frank DeFrancesco & Jennifer van Essen as the 2nd generation not only adds convincing contemporariness; but real chemistry to their character interpretations. DeFrancesco has the play’s most memorable line – “Never say OOPS within earshot of the homeowner!”
Director Deanna Moreira’s set and its various manifestations are a treat. We can almost sense a real habitat revamping… so much so that I imagined smelling a permeating drywall dust. Detailing and costuming both contribute a verisimilitude to what is happening on stage. Obviously, a lot of crew work went into staging the play and it deserves a longer than five-show run. This was our first visit to the Maja Prentice Hall at the Burnhamthorpe Library complex. It’s a humdinger venue!