Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: (Ottawa) Broken (Undercurrents)

Remembering A Life
by Jim Murchison

Brian Fidler plays Will. A small box of his late grandfather's things is the foundation of memories of a wonderful man whose mind has eroded by the onset of Alzheimers. How does a boy handle the frustration, fear and anger of someone he loves who is losing his cognitive function? When does he first realize that he's not just being crabby but is actually losing who he is?

Fittingly the play uses slides and a projector to play back memories. Photos like our memories may lose their sharpness and lustre if the conditions aren't just right. Another effective design element is the single bare light bulb suspended on a long retractable cord. Director Maiko Bae Yamamoto has Fidler use this one prop as if it were a flashlight investigating a crime scene at one point and the life force of the actor's own heart at another. Designer David Skelton has added other homey touches of the 80's: the comfy old chair downstage, the ladder or staircase upstage and most importantly, the camera and the tripod.

Fidler himself is very likeable and a fine storyteller. I suspect that would have made his grandfather proud. The play is an intimate look at the way stories and memories may be passed on keeping history alive. The bittersweet memories we have of the people we are losing or have lost and the tragedy of Alzheimers hits the audience with that tender balance of laughter and sadness that we all relate to so well. 

Runtime: approximately 60 minutes with no intermission.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this show. So well done and came across so sincere.


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