Thursday Theatre Review: Revisited
2b theatre company's Revisited, playing as part of New World Stage at Harbourfront, is described as "A man and an audience sit around a large wooden table. The man weaves a story of a town from the fabric of his memory. He conjures characters from the town, as he revisits his life in a search for a deeper meaning. The table serves both as the stage and as a shared space that invites connection and evokes community," and that's exactly what it is.
The audience walks into a room with a huge wooden table in it surrounded by chairs. Once the audience is seated around the table, quietly, subtly the show begins as Steven McCarthy, one of the two actors, closes a curtain that covers the entrance to the room.
McCarthy joins the audience at the table and begins to tell as story. The story unfolds through subtle movements that are amplified by the closeness of the space and by excellent use of sound and lighting that become actors in the show, not just technical aspects.
By the time Michelle Monteith makes her way into the room you've forgotten you were expecting another actor, but it she fits so seamlessly into the story that you then end up forgetting that for a long while there had only been one actor...
My show partner for this show was Elaine. When I asked her to position herself for this piece Elaine told me that she has always thought of theatre as very important, but despite that hasn't seemed to make much of an effort to include it in her life. She has decided in the last couple of years that she needs to move beyond the token Stratford and Shaw shows and explore what's out there in terms of theatre these days.
This was certainly a departure from Stratford or Shaw. I asked her what her overall impression of the show was and she said that she enjoyed it and that "it was gentle". She said the setting (the audience around the table with the actors) lent itself to a warm intimate experience, as did the story of these peoples lives and town.
Her favourite part was the way the show used little signals to represent things, like when an actor pulls out a handkerchief to help in the transformation to another character. She liked the way that because of the small setting small gestures and movements took on a lot of meaning.
When I asked her if there was anything she didn't like about the show she thought for a while and said that she felt like the storyline at the end of the show was pretty predictable, but that it didn't detract from the show because for her the play wasn't really about the story, it was about the characters and the town and how it was all presented.
The play wasn't about the story for me either. For me it was about a different way to experience theatre. The audience wasn't a faceless mass sitting around me, I could see their faces, and they could see mine. The actors weren't removed in a separately lit space, they were sitting and standing next to me, I could have reached out and touched them, or they were across a table from me, I could have been passing them the salt.
But it wasn't just the setting, it was a whole host of things. It was the way the technical aspects were a part of the story, not just something to facilitate the telling of a story; the way the actors could slip seamlessly in and out of a scene; the way McCarthy could slip seamlessly in and out of a buffet of characters; the way a white sheet can become a representation of a stained glass window one minute, then a babe in arms the next; the way an umbrella becomes the night sky; and the way we can suddenly see a town through the use of a bit of dirt, some lighting and a story around a communal table.
It was a treat to be able to spend my evening with these characters. You have a week left to treat yourself to an evening with them too.
- Showing at Harbourfront centre (235 Queens Quay West) at the York Quay Centre, in the Brigantine Room
- Revisited runs until Thursday April 19. The times vary according to the day. They are as follows: Thursday, April 12, 6:30p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Friday, April 13, 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 14, 6:30p.m./9:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 15, 4p.m./8p.m.; Wednesday, April 18 & Thursday, April 19, 6:30p.m./9.m.
- Seating is limited to 28 audience members
- Tickets are $25,
- 416-973-4000 for tickets and information
Photo of Steven McCarthy by Maxime Côté