Volume 93, Issue 81
Friday, March 3, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Play is thoughtful but may try Patience
Photo by Michael Mitchell
"MAN, THAT ASKING TO TALK TO MICHAEL HUNT GAG NEVER GETS OLD!" David Storch and Jim Mezon engage in a little horn humour inthe Grand Theatre's production of Patience.
By Brad Lister
What would happen if everything you ever owned and loved was lost in the span of one day? What would you do?
This is the question which plagues Reuben, the central character of Jason Sherman's acclaimed new play, Patience. This timeless story, starring Jim Mezon, David Storch, Victor Ertmanis and Brenda Robins, has made its way from a successful run in Toronto to London's Grand Theatre.
Sherman's play is an updated version of the Bible story of Job, a man with everything who lost it all in order for God to test his faith. In this modern adaptation of the Biblical tale, the story centres on an affluent gentleman named Reuben, aptly played by Mezon, who is a husband, father of two and co-owner of a major company.
This happily balanced, status quo life, however, crumbles for Reuben when his partners take the company from him after discovering he has withdrawn money from the business for personal use. The scenario only gets worse when his wife discovers his past affair with another woman. She takes the children and moves to the West Coast.
The play unfolds as the audience watches Reuben attempt to piece together the shambles which have become his life. Interestingly enough, Reuben has a visit from Paul, a former friend, who leaves him with this profound query "You may have everything you need, but do you need everything you have?"
Paul, played very well by Storch, has decided to change his life and move to Vancouver to make movies. This telling conversation with his friend takes place before Reuben's life falls apart, so when Reuben discovers Paul has died, the play takes on a decidedly spiritual tone.
Instead of whining or shaking his fist in anger over what has happened to him, Reuben philosophizes about his life for the entire play. The rest of the characters share Reuben's philosophical habits, rounding out the story's meaning and making Patience a fine evening of theatre.
This play is truly made for an actor all of the seasoned professionals happily sink their teeth into each of the meaty roles writer Joseph Ziegler has provided. The incredibly developed characters and extended dialogue, however, detract from the overall product. Anytime a character begins to speak, the audience can expect a numbing harangue to follow. Of course, these diatribes may have underlying meaning, as the other characters often looked dumbfounded after them and often respond with "I don't know what you mean," which places a sense of thematical significance on miscommunication.
Overall, the play is backed by a nice clean style. All of the set pieces, from couches to office furniture, are of a simple but elegant nature. The resulting effect is a sleek, modern style which clearly dates the production to the here and now. This is definitely a play meant to be representational of our times. Sherman even has the characters talking on mobile phones in many scenes, drawing the story far away from its beginnings in the Holy Book itself.
While the effective production design and provocative script are notable, Sherman's work just felt a little relentless in the end. Despite its highlights, by the end of the lengthy second act you may run out of pardon the pun patience.
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