No Good Reason is reason enough to go see

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Scene from No Good Reason

Gazette File Photo

RIGHT THIS DOWN BECAUSE IT'S NEVER COMING BACK. No Good Reason takes audiences back to 1918 in a play about two hospitalized soldiers in the First World War.

Since Red Socks Company’s creation six years ago, the production company has produced seven plays and been a finalist for the Mahogany Row and Forget Me Not awards.

Its latest play, No Good Reason, opened Friday at the McManus Studio Theatre.

No Good Reason follows the dialogue between two characters, Sam Brook and Will Dunn. Will and Sam are two soldiers that reside at Orpington War Hospital during the last year of the First World War. Sam is trying to regain the use of his legs while Will is fighting against the effects of shell shock.

The set itself never changes from the hospital terrace where the two wounded soldiers spend most of their time. As a result, viewers must imagine many of the elements in the environment the characters discuss.

Sound and lighting do an effective job of rendering these elements in place of set pieces and an album entitled Waiting There for Me, a collection of songs and poems written by soldiers of the First World War, accompanies the action.

The acting was what truly engaged the audience with the story. As No Good Reason opens, Christopher Stanton makes his character Will’s injuries obvious. His jittery movements and stuttering speech capture the extreme nature of Will’s shell shock.

In contrast to Will’s character, Mark McGrinder portrays Sam as charming, eloquent and polite. McGrinder is brilliant in his ability to subtly shift the mood between morose to comical to insightful. Of the two characters, Sam requires a broader spectrum of emotions and McGrinder covered them all with ease.

The plot covers a number of themes, from class separation, loyalty, love, fear, and conformity. The most prolific theme is hope " its meaning and importance in our lives.

Although the story takes place in 1918, it’s fair to say this is a play about contemporary problems. The story is about war " not just the war in the play, but how war can affect, change or destroy peoples’ lives.

Western industry, politics and education were in the midst of great change at the start of the 20th century. The first major conflict between competing worldviews was WWI. No Good Reason suggests that at the beginning of the 21st century, we are in the midst of a similar conflict.

No Good Reason is a production put together by a well-organized and experienced group who use the tools of theatre magnificently. With a pair of talented young actors, an intelligent script and a number of thought-provoking ideas beneath the surface, there are plenty of reasons to see this play.

No Good Reason runs Thursday to Saturday each night until Oct. 27. Showtimes begin at 7:30 p.m, with a matinee at 1:30 p.m. on the 27. Tickets are $15 for students. For more information on No Good Reason and the Red Socks Company, visit www.redsockscompany.com.

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