AWT shows range with contemporary play

FROM LEFT Brigitte Ganger, Marshall Flukinger and Katie McKee, navigate the a scene in this semester's first AWT production, Tales of the Lost Formicans. PHOTO BY JASON PERRY

Jessica Wallace– Arts & Entertainment Editor:

The random items on display throughout the hall of the Actor’s Workshop Theater (AWT) may seem common to humans, but for the aliens of Tales of the Lost Formicans, they are samples taken for their human research.

“Research item 00474 – model of popular human ‘snack’” read beneath the Dilly-Bar wrapper encased in glass.

Tales of the Lost Formicans has been in production since November. Casting, rehearsals, and building the set are of the many aspects that go into the production of a play.

The story explores a typical family structure and some common family problems: disease in the family, being a single parent, the life of a teenager, and divorce. Alien anthropologists narrate throughout the play as the audience watches the family members interact.

As an audience member, it feels like being an alien in a classroom learning about humans and watching a video about their habits and interactions.

Thinking back to your human-self, the play makes you feel small and unimportant. The family interactions are so relatable that it makes all of the problems seem normal and unimportant. The way that the aliens interpret the items they encounter make you contemplate their purpose in the simplest form. The play puts humans in an interesting perspective, and it is fun watching through alien eyes.

Last semester, TRU experienced a traditional play – Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This time around, AWT went with a much more contemporary script.

The modern dialogue included copious amounts of cursing by all cast members. Predominantly, the teenage son Eric played by Justin Hall used profanities in nearly all of his scenes. Everyone in the audience could relate to his portrayal of an angry teenager getting into yelling matches with his mother at any opportunity.

A scene involving Judy, played by Dianna Springford, and Cathy, played by Brigitte Ganger, smoking marijuana would surely never be seen in Shakespeare. As well, a sex scene that involved a fair amount of rolling around on stage kept the audience on its toes. The realism was refreshing.

The mishaps of the family were perfectly staged on a set that consisted mostly of donated drainage pipes. Tiered levels allowed for multiple scenes to take place at one time in unison. Dialogue was timed perfectly and the dual-scenes were clever and interesting.

The lighting allowed for the strangeness of the aliens to come to life with different colours that flickered throughout the show.

Its actors, Brandon Mills, Peter Langdon, Marshall, Flukinger, Brigitte Ganger, Dianna Springford, Justin Hall, and Katie McKee carried the show. They all had great chemistry.
The cast delivered comic relief in the most of serious and sometimes depressing moments.

The AWT has certainly provided range in the two plays they have produced this season. It will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

In its final week, Tales of the Lost Formicans is showing on Thursday, Jan. 20-22 at 8 p.m. with a matinee showing Friday, Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m. For more information call or to reserve tickets call 250-377-6100.