Sunday, 22 November 2009

Adam Seelig's TALKING MASKS Opens in Toronto

(R-L) Actors Jane Miller & Cathy Murphy; n/a; Dimitris Azemopoulos, the Consul General of Greece in Toronto; actor Richard Harte; playwright/director, Adam Seelig; Anna Shepelevich of the Greek Consulate; Efstratia Karagrigoriou, Greek Consulate Cultural & Educational Affairs Officer.

Playwright/director, Adam Seelig's brand new work opened to a packed house at the Walmer Centre Theatre on Friday, Nov. 13th. Talking Masks (Oedipussy)--yep, you read those parenthetical words correctly-is Sophocles' Oedipus Rex meets the story of Isaac and Ishmael as birthed by Seelig, founder of "North America's only theatre company devoted to modern and contemporary poetic theatre", One Little Goat. Confused? That's to be expected with Seelig's work. I've been a fan since seeing his 2007 work, Antigone:Insurgency, a play that blends the ancient world with a post-9/11 world (that play also starred Richard Harte). I followed up that thought-provoking experience with Seelig's translation of the Jon Fosse's Noweigan play, Someone is Going to Come in 2008.

Seelig continues to throw a lot at his audience with this play about abandoned children: a boy tied to a tree (Richard Harte), two mothers (or is there only 1 mother voiced by actresses Cathy Murphy and Jane Smith?), a father figure (Andrew Moodie) on a wooden horse named Master Thespian, projected words on the back wall, and a stage setting that makes the audience feel as if they are at a slow game at Wimbledon whenever the dialogue is sometimes tossed back and forth. All the actors are mic'd for the performance, turning the voice(s) of the mother(s) into a chorus at times. Kudos to Dora-nominated set designer, Jacke Chau for her fourth collaboration with Seelig. Chau's previous work with Seelig include Ritter Dene Voss, Antigone:Insurgence (Dora nomination), and Someone is Going to Come.

Like Seelig's other works, you bring your own bias to these plays so there is always interesting discussions/debates to be had after viewing as each person defends their own perspective. "What did this mean?/What did that mean?" I enjoyed Talking Mask, but I think there is a little too much superfluous modernity tossed into the mix, but this is a minor criticism of this riveting piece. After all, I howled when actresses Murphy and Miller break the fourth wall to introduce themselves to the audience: "Hi, I"m Cathy" and "I'm Jane (from Woodbridge)". The humour is subtle and personal, meaning not everyone laughs at the same time in the play; it depends on what resonates with you, and that's what I love about Seelig's work. I learn something about myself from the world he invites me into. He also has an amazing talent at casting, with all four actors in this piece delivering a stellar job.

Talking Masks (Nov. 13-28)
Walmer Centre Theatre
188 Lowther Avenue(Spadina Subway)
Tickets: $20/12 Students, seniors, artists
Tuesdays Pay-What-You-Can

Photo Credit:
Group shot, Adam Seelig, Richard Harte and Andrew Moodie by donna g
Stage shots (3) by photograper, Sai Sivanesan

1 comment:

gigi said...

I agree with the review, Adam's plays always leave me thinking.

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