The Dawson Theatre season opens with a moving play
By Gabe Gilker
Opening up this years’ play season on a heavy note, the Professional Theatre second year students moved a full house with their play The Shadow Box. Last Wednesday the air inside the theatre was thick with anticipation for what the actors had prepared for us so early in the semester, and what we could expect for the rest of the year from our talented peers.
The Shadow Box, written by Michael Cristofer and directed by Winston Sutton, is a tragic story about three fatally ill patients who live in cottage units on the grounds of a hospice in the Eastern Townships. It is a place of comfort for dying people who have run out of luck for finding a cure. In the middle of the woods we see anger, confusion, love, hope and hope lost pulsate between the strong and realistic characters.
“Brian (Adam Capriolo-Morris) always makes the same mistake. He always cares for the wrong people.” Said Beverly, (Audrey Ferron) Brian’s eccentric, drunken and trashy ex-wife who provided the comic relief in the midst of all the confusion that only the knowledge of death can bring about.
“It was really hard to get into the mindset of someone who was middle aged and dying. What it was like to deal with love and loss. But we all [the cast] have to thank our director for helping us out so much,” Capriolo-Morris, who gave one of the strongest performances of the night, said.
Joe (James Soares-Correia) a regular blue-collar worker had hollowed out cheeks and his eyes were accented by a yellow that can only be associated with someone who’s dying. Seemingly accepting his fate, he only shows frustration and uneasiness toward his wife Maggie (Mara Lazaris) when she refuses to enter his cottage, almost afraid as if walking into it would mean walking into his coffin.
Just when the hardships seemed like they couldn’t climb any higher the bitter and dementia ridden Felicity (Kayleigh Choinière) and her daughter Agnes (Sherina Forte-Jones/Letitia Sherry) were introduced. Sharing their complex and tear-jerking mother/daughter relationship, these two actors came together to be one of the most compelling duo’s to share the stage.
As the play progresses the actors continue to execute the performance with a deep understanding of their characters that removes you from the theatre and places you in the middle of the action and that’s when something starts to move underneath the obvious plot. It becomes apparent that the suffering extends beyond the person who is dying. The loved ones around are also dying in their own sense of the word, all silently suffering in order not to upset or distress the fatally ill even more so. Every actor was portraying their own guilt, sorrow and fear so well that the entire theatre echoed of sniffling.