I had a great, but crazy week. The front half was leading up to Opening Night of Mary Poppins. The week prior to Opening is the busiest in my calendar so it was kind of nice to actually be able to catch the show. I usually don't as I am a little brain fried, but I think I am getting the hang of it because I felt up to going. I took Gibson, because it is the kind of show you want to see with a kid. It was fabulous! I was way up in the back and the sound was crystal clear and the show itself read wonderfully. I think this is the kind of show that works well from anywhere in the house, but particularly so from a little further back because the dance numbers are so grand. I particularly loved SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC... and Step in Time, but really the whole show is so much fun. It was wonderful seeing some of my favorites like Susan Gilmour, Kate Ryan and Kendra Connor along with new favorites Blythe Wilson, and Andrew MacDonald-Smith. The whole cast is a wonderful ensemble and as the piece has a lot of moving parts they seem to work as one being to make it be magical. It was also kind of cool to hear Gibson singing songs from the show the next morning at breakfast.
Friday I took in something very different. I have a great husband who is the kind of guy that will say, "Isn't there a show you wanted to go to? Go!" So I headed out to Theatre Network for Little One. It's a 180 degree turn from Poppins, the story of two adopted siblings who have very different beginnings resulting in very different beginnings. It's a tangled story of guilt and tragedy. It also speaks to love not always being enough to heal the wounds from an early traumatic childhood. A script that leaves us with questions, not necessarily a bad thing, but not necessarily satisfying. I think it was supposed to stir up stuff. Jesse Gervais, as the normal, good child, is particularly good in the present looking back. Amber Borotsik is chilling in both present and past. You can see why this girl grew into this woman. I was reminded of my grandfather telling me once about neighbours who had fostered children over the years and about one boy that they tried hard to help, but that there was something unfixable about him, no matter what they did. I can't remember what happened to that boy, but I can't imagine it was good. Another thing that struck me was how much responsibility was placed on and felt by the older adopted sibling. It was a terrible responsibility. Something that he shouldn't have had to bear.
Finally, Saturday night, I took in the U of A Drama 457 final project, Welcome to Thebes in the Second Playing Space. A modernized retelling of Greek myths weaving elements from Antigone, Lysistrata and Hippolytus but also commenting on current global situations. It was cool to see several of my past classmates onstage telling this story and to see how much they have grown as actors. Although the first act was a little slow due to the exposition required, it was overall a thought-provoking piece, and the second act moved much more quickly and was more satisfying. I thought about many things - child soldiers, western-world arrogance, economics vs. empathy. Replace Athens with the U.S. and Sparta with Russia and you have the situation in Syria. So, despite being rooted in Greek mythology, it was actually very current, making me think more about what it takes to rebuild a country after war. We are spoiled in our safe little Canadian cities.
Above all, the three shows in three days made me once again think about the depth of the theatre offered within our city. These were just a few of the shows I could have seen, as there are also shows on at Shadow Theatre (Queen Lear) and Mayfield Dinner Theatre (Death Trap). The key is having time to go and see them!