Last week our Creative Communications class went to see Dionysus in Stony Mountain
Rachel Browne Theatre. I had no idea where this place was, but I should have, because it turns out that I go there weekly for Pita Pit, and they share a building! So much going on in The Exchange!
The play started at 8:00, but our assignment said to show up at 7:40. Being the CreComm'er I am, I showed up at 7:30, just in case. Already there was a lineup out the door and around the corner, all the way to my beloved Pita Pit!
I have to be honest, I had no idea what the play was about, and all I had heard about it was the review in the Winnipeg Free Press, which wasn't as positive and reassuring as I would have liked. Nevertheless I went in with an open mind. I took a program and saw that it was written by Steven Ratzlaff and starred two Winnipeg actors: Sarah Constible and Ross McMillan. My first thought after hearing how long it was (2 hours), and knowing that there were only two actors, was how tiring this production must be.
We are learning how to write screenplays and radio dramas, and I find it exhausting to write the scripts using minimal roles. I can't imagine actually writing a two-hour production, and casting only two actors to play three roles. I was impressed.
Once the play was underway, I had very mixed feelings. As a first time theatregoer I thought the first act was terrible. Maybe it's my lack of experience, but I felt very lost. There was little to no movement around the set, as the psychiatrist and her patient James Hiebert (played by Ross McMillan) discuss his downward spiral with upcoming parole.
I felt lost in the intellectual jargon and, Hiebert's reciting of Nietzsche was exhausting and overdone. I was bored with the first half that I thought about leaving at intermission. I understand that McMillan's character memorizes Nietzche as a part of his mental illness, but it was an over share. The only thing that impressed me about the first half, was the fact that he actually memorized all of those lines.
Going in to the second act I was really turned off. I had already written the play off as a dud, but I stuck around to finish our assignment, and because I wanted to really give it a chance. I'm actually really glad I decided to to stay, because the second act was quite quirky and well acted. Ross McMillan changed characters from James Hiebert to Uncle Eric, Sarah Constible's uncle. I think the actors had a great chemistry and a believable relationship. They worked well on stage together. I liked Uncle Eric's character a lot. I think every family can relate to a relationship like Sarah's and Uncle Eric's.
It was another CreComm experience that forced me to try something new, and in the end I'm really glad I stayed until the end. Though I didn't enjoy every second of it, I learned a lot, and it was worth blogging about. I think I'll even try and catch a few Fringe plays this summer!