Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Who Knew Romance was So Funny? The Invention of Romance by Conni Massing...

Last night I took in a World Premiere of a Brand New Alberta Play by Conni Massing.  The Invention of Romance is the latest production in Workshop West Playwright's Theatre 2013/14 Season.  It opened last night to a sold out house and runs until April 13th. I had a wonderful time watching this piece.  I had read a bit about it before and knew that it was inspired by real events in Massing's life.  Her mother had rekindled a romance with a former sweetheart after 60 years.  But this is not just about a romance between two seniors, this is a play for everyone.  It's about finding the romance in our lives at any age, and while we might think it is easier for the young to find love, our world and our expectations often complicate things so much that we miss what might be right in front of us.

Valerie Ann Pearson and Lora Brovold in The Invention of Romance
But this isn't a sappy, sweet love story.  We laugh at heroine Kate's missteps (Lora Brovold) and imaginations as she engages in dating and dreaming to help her curate her museum display on the Invention of Romance.  Living in the world of today, trying to be rational and practical, but seduced by the sensibility of rom-coms and Jane Austen's (or is it Colin Firth's) Mr. Darcy, Kate is everywoman making every mistake in her search for love. I think we laugh so much at Kate because we recognize ourselves in her.  Her second-guesses and over-planning feel very familiar.  We laugh with mother Luisa (Valerie Ann Pearson) as she is an absolute delight.  We all know this woman and we love her.  She is all-knowing and not hampered by the expectations of the world, and what a wonderful romance she has! Pearson herself is so incredibly real onstage - Why haven't I seen her before? We laugh the most, perhaps, at Mat Busby, who has the fun job of playing a multitude of roles - from a variety of internet-dates, to Kate's fantasy man, to the very real James, her co-worker.

This is a piece that I think speaks to a lot of people, and in some ways is a nice change from some of the darker pieces that I have seen lately.  Although I like that we can use theatre to look at the darker corners of the world, I'm glad that we can also have a play like this that focuses on joy in our world - it's important to tell all the stories.

2 comments:

Michael Clark said...

Conni Massing is a masterful writer - one of Canada's best

Michael Clark said...

Conni Massing is a masterful writer - one of Canada's best