BWW Reviews: IN ABSENTIA Ponders Life, Love and Mortality

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IN-ABSENTIA-ponders-life-love-and-mortality-through-March-4-20010101

A story of loss and longing is brought to light in the world premiere of Morris Panych's IN ABSENTIA now playing at the Centaur Theatre.

As the story unfolds, we meet Colette, (Jillian Fargey) a woman whose husband was abducted while on a business trip to Columbia. Tormented by not knowing if her husband is still alive, she forges an unlikely connection with drifter Jasper (Jade Hassouné) who may or may not know the details of her husbands disappearance.

Colette seems to handle her situation well at times, mainly due to the conversations she regularly has with her husband Tom's “ghost” (Paul Hopkins). Supporting characters include meddling older sister Evelyn (Susan Glover, in a stand out performance) who offers much needed comic relief and reliable neighbour Bill (Carlo Mestroni).

Fargey, who brings to mind a young Annette Bening, shines as Colette, her emotional journey heart-wrenching at times. Unfortunately, the play was quite repetitive and full of cliché's which makes it difficult to empathize with her character.

Hopkins does a splendid job as the kidnapped husband. He makes the most of his mainly bland dialogue and brings to life the imagined spouse who is charming and protective, even if just in the mind of Colette.

Despite playing an under-developed character, Hassouné does a admirable job as the charming Jasper with questionable motives. If we could have cared a little more for him through the duration of the play, the ending and his character's fate would have been much more effective.
Director Roy Surette does a fine job with this long, drawn out tale, which could have easily been edited down to 90 minutes from it's existing 2 hours+ running time. The staging and use of the elaborate set was beautiful to watch.

The beautiful set design by John C. Dinning and the impressive lighting design by Luc Prairie, both help set the scene of a lake-front property in the dead of winter. Right down to the stunningly realistic snow fall. The moving bed was a brilliant choice, though tremendously underused.

IN ABSENTIA has many thought evoking lines, along with some hilarious ones, but the script and the character development fall far too short. Certainly not a play that sticks with you after you've exited the theatre.

IN ABSENTIA runs at The Centaur Theatre through March 4. For tickets and more information, click here.

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Noelle Hannibal Noelle Hannibal was born and raised in Los Angeles. After making her professional theatre debut playing Chrissy in the 20th anniversary production of Hair, Noelle moved to Dublin, Ireland where she starred in Lock Up Your Daughters (Hilaret) and toured with The Bull Alley Theatre Company. After her return to Los Angeles, Noelle appeared in Chicago (Velma Kelly), Gypsy (Mazeppa) and Miss Saigon (Gigi) to name a few. Film and television credits include Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Voyager, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Cracker: Mind Over Murder. She has trained with The Beverly Hills Playhouse, The San Francisco Mime Troupe and renowned vocal coach Ron Anderson. Noelle currently resides in Montreal, QC where she is very active in the theatre community. Noelle is not only a performer, she is also a producer, coach and director. Passionate about arts education, Noelle is also executive director of T3 Triple Threat, a non-profit arts and education organization that is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth in need through the arts.


 
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