Outside Mullingar”, or – The Life of Reilly’s Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

It’s an awful business…Growing old!” When Vince Carlin makes this statement in John Shanley’s 2014 com/dram (sic) OUTSIDE MULLINGAR, it was way too close to home. Both the muse and I have just undergone a necessitated cognitive analysis. Our concentration veers; our memory has too many gaps; and worse of all – the short trip between brain and mouth often detours.
Interpreting Shanley’s play, the unique production team of ‘
Act of Faith’ have brought back the ‘Painting Churches’ (see O.A.R. 4/28/’18) dynamic team of Caroline Saulez; Vince Carlin & Willard Boudreau. The latter, recovering from major surgery, is still in top directorial form with his minute (‘mine yoot’ not the 60-second noun) style of detailing.

l-r: Saulez; Sheehy; Marchment & Carlin, chez Reilly’s farm kitchen

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Walker play explores middle class madness Reply

Review by Judith Robinson    May 12, ‘19

Since the 1970’s, Canadian playwright George F. Walkers plays have had audience members squirming in their seats as pimps, prostitutes, criminals and drug addicts took center stage. In recent years, the master craftsman turned his spotlight on to the Middle Class. His 2010 drama, And So It Goes, currently playing at the Pia Bouman Scotia Bank Theatre in Toronto, not only gives a voice to the voiceless, it exposes what it’s like for those who had a voice to lose it. Latin teacher, Gwen, powerfully enacted by Deborah Drakeford, and her husband investment adviser, Ned, played by Dan Willmott, had a pretty cushy life,

Drakeford * McCulloch on stage

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“Sorting IT Out”, a short morality play about ASD Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin   Apr. 26th, ‘19

Autism Spectrum Disorder, ranges from savant to non-verbal and affects about 1% of the population; mostly males. During our years driving school buses; we were consistently given routes that shuttled ‘special needs’ students. We became familiar with both ends of the ambit. Given our familiarity with the syndromes, it always bothered us that such TV shows as ‘Bones’ or ‘Big Bang Theory’ displayed some symptoms for humor rather than understanding. Awareness might lead to understanding but both shows missed an opportunity.
Back in 2007, our friend Lynn Johnston’s cartoon series, ‘For better or For Worse’ described ‘Shannon’ who was autistic.

l-r …Cook, Scott, Esposito & Buzzelli

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“Til BETH Do Us Part” comedic fun from the Pen Players Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin      Apr. 6th. ’19

A contemporary American couple; middle-aged and both career-oriented, have run into a snag. She’s over-worked and on-call 24/7 by her London boss; he’s a TV weatherman who procrastinates or just ignores doing his share of the household or stuff in the “Honey Do” jar. Sound familiar?
This old fart found the plot line way too close-to-home for comfort. I have excuses for NOT loading the dishwasher; claim poor eyesight for not seeing a need to dust or vacuum; and rely on dear Terry to make sure there’s always a full roll of T.P. in our bathrooms. I’m not lazy — just tired!

l-r Wouthuis; Miszturak; Nyman; Quirk; Toews & White of  “Til Beth Us Do Part”.

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“The Woods are Dark and Deep” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Mar. 27,  ‘19

About a hundred years ago, Robert Frost wrote a poem about stopping near a forest just after a snowstorm. The title of Mladen Oradović’s play about the Canadian government’s internment of Eastern Europeans during WW I takes a stanza from that poem as its title. Fitting, as the internees are utilized to clear away a forest for what will be a national park. They earned a quarter for a full day’s back-breaking labour. However, compared to the lack of jobs overseas, this was actually an incentive for young men to emigrate in hopes of gaining a nest egg. The war interfered.

An internment camp Christmas dinner

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“Isitwendam” Is a powerful Indigenous journey of discovery Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe      Mar.  20, ‘19

Isitwendam, written and performed by Meegwun Fairbrother  is a powerful, emotional, and beautifully-crafted play , well worth seeing.  The play, a Bound To Create Theatre (B2C) Production, is having its world premiere in Toronto, presented by native Earth Performing Arts at the Aki Studio. It was co-created and directed by Jack Grinhaus. Isitwendam means “an understanding,” and this one-act play shows how theatre, with its blend of physicality, emotion, language, and appeal to our senses, can give us a deeper, fuller understanding of, and empathy with, a complex situation. The play begins with a mysterious, graceful dance performed by Fairbrother, against a background of changing light and shadow – ending with a flashing light and a sense of terror. More…