Author: Grace King

Review: Hart House Theatre’s The Crucible

Photos | Scott Gorman   The program for Hart House Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible begins with a note from director Michael Rubinstein: “If you have come to see a museum production of The Crucible, this is not that.” For a play based on the 1692 Salem witch trials, escaping the story’s “museum” quality without losing its integrity is an aspirational feat. The play follows the chaos that ensues after a group of young girls are found dancing naked in the forest, raising concerns of the Devil’s presence in Salem. As each family names the sinners of other families, conflicts arise, and lust and jealousy materialize in the form of blame. In the trials that follow, over 90 members of the town are named by others as having “danced with the Devil.” So how does a director evade falling back on the “museum production” of The Crucible? At the very least, Rubinstein’s statement seems to hold true for the production’s staging. Thanks to the skilled eye of set designer Chris Penna and the expertise of lighting designer C.J. Astronomo, The Crucible is effectively modernized by strobe lights and fog machines. Shifting from the strict dress of 17th-century Salem, costume designer Brandon Kleiman swaps men’s breeches for black jeans, while the women have traded in petticoats and bonnets for lighter, more modern dresses. The centrepiece of Rubinstein’s non-“museum production” is its...

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Review: VCDS presents The Drowsy Chaperone

Photos | Hana Nikčević “Don’t you hate the theatre?” a voice asks from the darkened stage. This is how the the Victoria College Drama Society’s production The Drowsy Chaperone, directed by Meredith Shedden, begins: in total darkness. The voice belongs to the narrator—a nameless, endearing man in a knit red sweater and cuffed pants, seated in an armchair to the side of the stage. This narrator, played by Tom Fraser, organizes the production of Drowsy on two levels. On the surface level, the “Man in Chair,” listens to a record of the fictional musical called The Drowsy Chaperone from 1928 and...

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