Alumnae Theatre's PALACE OF THE END Shines a Light on Horrors of the Iraq War, 11/13-11/28
The Alumnae Theatre Company's 'Palace of the End' is a searing triptych of monologues that present different perspectives on the war in Iraq. A young and pregnant American soldier - in disgrace for her treatment of Iraqi prisoners - tells us about "My Pyramids"; a disillusioned British weapons inspector invites us to witness his suicide at "Harrowdown Hill"; and an Iraqi woman shares the heartbreaking story of her family's torture in "Instruments of Yearning". The characters are all based on real people and events. The play runs from November 13 to 28.
The play is helmed by director Jason Maghanoy, with lighting design by Alaina Perttula. The set and costumes were collaboratively designed by the creative team.
Using the key words magic, fear and hope as references, director Jason Maghanoy (the current playwright-in-residence at Cahoots Theatre Projects) has developed "a very magical theatrical language for the piece, to link the characters more completely."
This is an ensemble production, focusing on the voices of the characters. The actors work as a group, bleeding in and out of each other's monologues like memories, like ghosts, like dreams, creating surprising moments of lightness.
"We tried to capture the fear in the piece, the cruelty, but balance it with this idea of a startling and powerful hope," continues Maghanoy. "People live. Fight. Survive. They endure. And these characters endure in beautiful and surprising ways."
Alaina Perttula's lighting strikes a perfect balance, isolating each speaking character, while keeping the other two actors ghostly, yet visible - "there, and yet not there".
Alumnae Theatre Company's production features Laura Vincent as the pregnant and disgraced American soldier, Christopher Kelk as weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly, and Sochi Fried as the Iraqi mother, Nehrjas al Saffarh.
The production runs from Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00 pm. There will be a Talkback with the cast & director after the matinee on November 22. The Alumnae Theatre Studio is located at 70 Berkeley St., 3rd floor, in Toronto. For tickets and information call 416-364-4170 visit the theatre's website.
Alumnae Theatre Company has been producing thought-provoking, challenging and rarely-performed plays since 1919. The company first came into light under the name of University Alumnae Dramatic Club founded by women graduates of the University of Toronto. The club staged premieres of such plays as Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot', T.S. Eliot's 'The Family Reunion', Ionesco's 'The Lesson', Pinter's 'The Caretaker' and Vaclav Havel's 'Largo Desolato'. No longer affiliated with the University of Toronto, the Alumnae Theatre Company continues to present classic and temporary works. Over the years, many notable Canadian theatre artists have appeared in the company's productions including Martin Hunter, R. H. Thomson, Molly Thom, Drew Carnwath, Shirley Barrie, Kelly Thornton, Mallory Gilbert, Sue Miner and Richard Easton.
Montreal-born Playwright Judith Thompson is a two-time winner of both the Governor General's Award and the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. Thompson's other plays include'The Crackwalker', 'White Biting Dog,' 'I Am Yours', and The Other Side of the Dark.' 'Palace of the End' earned a Dora Mavor Moore Award as Outstanding New Play, as well as the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2008. Thompson is the first Canadian playwright to be honoured with the Blackburn award. In August 2009, Palace of the End won the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.