Play: “Another Home Invasion”
Group: Echo Theatre Company
Venue: Theatre 134, ArtSpace, Crestwood Court, Watson at Sappington
Dates: October 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24
Tickets: $15-$20; contact 1-800-838-3006 or www.echotheatrecompany.org
Story: Jean and her husband Alec have lived in the same home in Vancouver for more than 50 years. They’ve raised three children there, including a son who lives with his family in Toronto and another son who has his own family and home in Calgary. Daughter Bethy still lives in Vancouver and is a frequent visitor to her parents’ place, checking on the octogenarians regularly. That’s good and on the other hand not so pleasant, as Jean wryly points out her daughter’s personal problems and dyspeptic temperament.
Now, however, Jean knows that she and Alec must seek different living quarters. Alec’s mental faculties are slipping noticeably, and Jean longs for a residence in a retirement community where they can maintain much of their independence. The red tape, though, is lengthy, and Alec’s deteriorating condition exacerbates their chances of relocation. Additionally, a menacing drug addict has begun to hang around their house, providing new worries for Jean. The future looks bleak.
Highlights: Echo Theatre is presenting the American premiere of Canadian playwright Joan MacLeod’s latest effort, a one-woman, one-act tour de force that received its world premiere earlier this year in Toronto. Kudos to Echo artistic director Eric Little for finding this little gem and for enticing Donna Weinsting to portray the lively, optimistic and realistic Jean.
Weinsting is consistently believable as the determined senior, so natural and seemingly spontaneous that her dialogue is more conversational than scripted. That’s a testament to not only her considerable acting skills but also Little’s steady, sure hand and nuanced pacing as director and MacLeod’s concise and measured ear for the rhythm of Jean’s speech.
Other Info: Little’s set design is deliberately low-key, allowing for Weinsting to set back casually in her comfy furniture and also symbolizing how her tiny world is being swallowed by an indifferent society, and it’s precisely illuminated by Maureen Hanratty’s lighting.
Little specializes in finding clever and/or significant, seldom-seen pieces that provoke or regale an audience, and he scores another triumph with this insightful and well-written work. Coupled with Weinsting’s thoughtful and elegant portrayal of a warm and witty woman nearing an uncomfortable impasse in her life, it makes for a pensive and poignant presentation.
Rating: A 4.5 on a scale of 1-to-5.