Volume 93, Issue 85
Friday, March 10, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Play has Everything and a whole lot more
By Anthea Rowe
Infidelity, neglect and illegitimate children. Add intelligence and infatuation and you've got the perfect recipe for A is for Everything, a fascinating play written by Western graduate student Caitlin Murphy.
The play is about two compelling and complicated women who are as unknown and overlooked as the men who overshadow them are famous. The women develop a companionship of sorts by sharing common experiences and ironies which result from living in the shadows of famous authors.
Lucia is the schizophrenic daughter of literary great James Joyce (author of Ulysses and The Iliad) and Suzanne is wife to Samuel Beckett, who wrote revolutionary plays such as Endgame and Waiting for Godot. Lucia's unpredictable temperament, which often leads to her setting things on fire, is balanced nicely by Suzanne's calm, level-headed demeanour.
Playwright Murphy takes the part of Lucia and succeeds in giving a dynamic performance. Her character is difficult to get used to at first because of her disjointed, unpredictable speech. However, with a strong singing voice and surprising dance abilities, Murphy keeps the audience constantly wondering what she might say or do next.
The part of Suzanne is played by Susan McDonald. Her character, although older and more reserved than Lucia, is complicated and intense. McDonald's timing and movements are simple, yet effective in her portrayal of a woman much older than herself.
Also impressive is McDonald's obvious talent as a pianist, as her beautiful playing seems effortless. Is there nothing these two women can't do?
The play's director, Jayson McDonald, has done a spectacular job of presenting the play simply yet articulately. He is well-known in London for his writing, acting and directing and his theatre company, threeblackring.
Jayson makes creative use of every part of the stage, even sending the characters off-stage and out the door at some points. Since no other characters are ever introduced to the story-line, this technique keeps the play fresh and interesting.
The sound effects are sporadic, but exciting and the visual effects, which are loaded with meaning, add to the viewing experience. The result is an effective presentation of what is most important the script.
In an hour and 15 minutes, the audience gains insight into the lives of these two oft-ignored women through dialogue, song and dance.
Murphy's writing is intelligent, witty and stimulating, invoking a wide range of emotions in anyone who watches the play.
A is for Everything runs tonight and tomorrow at University College's Conron Hall.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000