Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: (Toronto) The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble

                                                                                                      (photo by Joanna Akyol)
The Worth of a Life
by Winna Tse

What is a life worth living if you can’t even remember who you are? The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, brought to us by the Factory Theatre and Obsidian Theatre tackles this tough question with poise and emotional maturity that leaves the audience in tears, myself included. 

Written and directed by Beth Graham and Philip Akin respectively, Bernice Trimble is a play about a woman and a family struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. Bernice (Karen Robinson) is exuberant, sophisticated and powerful as the mother of three. Robinson's performance is heartbreaking and realistically captures the despair of a person besieged with such a disease.  Facing this tough disease with her, are her two daughters and son who also struggle to cope. Iris (Alexis Gordon) is calm, collected and composed just as she believes her family needs her to be. The eldest daughter Sara (Lucinda Davis) is highly emotional and paranoid. Peter (Peyson Rock) is aloof but involved in his own peculiar way. At times they choose to ignore or deny the ever looming future that awaits their mother. Other times they are forced to face the truth and accept it. The decisions they make through such a difficult time in their mother’s life are not easy and understandably so. Not surprisingly, their actions affect the family dynamic which like many families, is complicated.

The actors are incredibly talented, raw and generous as they give it their all with such candid emotions. Astoundingly, they are  able to carry on through long, laborious and complex lines without missing a beat making the audience laugh and cry in equal measure. Without a doubt, Bernice Trimble is exceptionally well written. It comes full circle towards the end, sending shockwaves to the audience. The storytelling is intense, poignant, and exceptionally nuanced. Every every quirk, comment and gesture is magnified as the audience quickly realizes the significance of such seemingly trivial matters throughout the play. It is a painful journey but one that I am grateful I took.  

The Gravitational Pull Of Bernice Trimble runs Nov. 2 - Dec. 1

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