Review: Swollen Tongues by Kathleen Oliver

Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC)
March 7 – 26, 2006
Performance viewed: March16

James Gilbert: Thomas
Sarah McVie: Sonja
Maureen Smith: Catherine
Patricia Tedford: Alex

Directed by Kate Hurman
Set & Costume Design by Lorenzo Savoini
Lighting Design by Rebecca Picherack
Stage Manager: Kevin Waghorn

This play in verse presents us quite a feat:
It entertains in rhyming couplets sweet;
When Oliver betook herself the task,
Methinks she wondered if it was too vast.
But let me set you right at once, my heart:
This play is witty, topical and smart.
I loved the set, both first and second acts’:
The cartoon look, perspective twisting flats,
And costumes, which I really liked a lot
Not only right, but working with the plot!
— The gown on which in Act I Sonja labored
In Act II helped her win her true love’s favor.
But know in comedies such is the case
That oft the lovers run a counter-race
And spend their heart’s desire pursuing folly
Not realizing that their love’s an other dolly.
So it was here. And in that way beguiling
Each lover chased another without smiling
For such was loss, all piteous were the lovers
Until the end when out of every cupboard
Sprang love’s delight expressed by every thespian
In ways so true we wondered not they’re lesbians!
And I should state in terms as true and certain
I heard each word so clear, Director Hurman!
You measured out the playwright’s art and wit
And breathed life into every part of it!
Now, actors: over top was Mr. Gilbert
And for the tone his art was bravo perfect;
And Ms McVie was vivid in her part
Which was, most saucily to play the tart!
In passion, and in bosoms prizes go
To Tedford who unwrapped her art so slow . . .
And certainly in patience Smith was apt
Whose character could finish others’ craft.
But if you think this play was just a farce
Think deeper for behind the laughs the art
Was focusing on love and issues real
That entertained us with crusader’s zeal
And kept us laughing while we understood
That love and tenderness are just as good
In any stance between true lovers dear
And that is true: our firm applause made clear.
Now all that’s left for me at her request
Is write a poem for Sonja, well express’d.

Couplet Sonnet for Sonja
Ah, wondrous woman clasped so close my heart
I wish that I could think you weren’t a tart!
Your lips so sweet and full and ripe and red
Are drawing me to think of rhymes for bed!

And if, sweet Sonja, I were wearing blue
I’d wonder if another word would do
To help me satisfy my longing dear
And steal you from young Thomas who seems queer

The dress he wears is sewn by thine own hand
And yet he is so pretty: is he man?
Oh, look at me and honor mine estate
For I shall give thee all just for a date.

Oh, shit! I think my laptop has just crashed
Is there another way? Will you take cash?

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wordcurrents/ Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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