Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: (Vancouver) My Turquoise Years

Georgina Beaty, Bridget Esler, Wendy Noel, and Dawn Petten. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Sometimes the book is better
Some of the best actors in town though
by David C. Jones
A book is an intimate experience; it’s you with the author.  It can sometimes be reflective and it can also meander. It can be put down and pondered, then you can pick it up again and dive back into the prose. Theatre is dynamic; it is a shared experience with many. The story needs to be in action and the protagonist has to drive us through. In improvisational theatre (I am going somewhere with this) there is a term called “Delaying”. That is when the actors are avoiding getting to the action - often because they are afraid of where the story might take them.
In My Turquoise Years - adapted by M.A.C. Farrant from her book - there is so much delaying. We keep being told something might happen eventually but nothing does. There is just delaying in the writing – it also happens in the production which features not one but three full on songs. 
There are a few dramatic moments where something almost happens include the aforementioned Elvis contest and a possible affair. 

In musical theatre – songs advance the plot or at least more deeply explore the mood or themes of that particular point in the story. Here they are just marking time - particularly a choreographed Elvis number between three characters that is neither explored as a moment of fantasy desire or a justified action to cheer up a character that failed to enter (and win) an Elvis contest. It’s just a number in the middle of act two.

The story is a memoir of a 14-year-old girl who was abandoned by her Mom when she was 2 and left with her Aunt and Uncle in Cordova Bay, Vancouver Island. There are a bunch of characters that surround the girl but it’s mostly conversational. There are a few dramatic moments where something almost happens include the aforementioned Elvis contest and a possible affair. There is a threat that the mother of the girl is coming for a visit.

The characters get their hair done, wander on the beach, sit in chairs waving flags at cars, and sew a quilt. The words “I remember” are said a bunch of times.

Some of the best actors in the city are cast in the show; with a couple double cast. Bridget Esler distinguishes herself as an older cousin and a young best friend.  

There are a few good chuckles but it is mostly a warm, slow, nostalgic story and one wishes for a bookmark so you can savour it in short sittings. 

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