Review: Leo by Rosa Laborde

The Great Canadian Theatre Company presents

Leo by Rosa Laborde
Directed by Micheline Chevrier

Leo: Salvatore Antonio
Rodrigo: Jason Cadieux
Isolda: Michelle Monteith

Set and Costume Designer: Deeter Schurig
Lighting designer: John (Jock) Munro
Sound Designer: Cathy Nosaty
Stage manager: Kim Bujaczek
Apprentice Stage Manager: Erin Finn
Assistant Director: David Whitely

Production viewed: November 30, 2006 8 pm
One act, 67 minutes

In this script, we see again the reinvention of theatre by a playwright who has not taken the time to learn what has worked and what has not for playwrights back to ancient Greece. (It is noted in the printed program that this play received the Dora Mavor Moore Award Nomination for Outstanding New Play. There must have been a pretty raw crop of plays that year.)

If you take this production as her template (and it’s all I have) Laborde belongs to the “tell you” school of didactic writers.This is a talky script intensely performed on an almost bare stage in front of and sometimes behind a totally meaningless asymmetrical wood and plastic partition that could have been recycled from a fashion show.

The script delivers two subjects: a love triangle that gratuitously explores homosexuality, and the political drama of oppression in Allende’s Chile. Given the passionate potential of either of these scenarios, it is surprising that neither plot ignited some audience involvement, but that failure may be attributed to the declamative method of the play, which gives the audience little or no reason to like any of the characters or become involved in their plot arcs.

Added to that is the fact that this is a sixty-seven minute production masquerading as an evening of theatre and you get the picture. Aside from my desire to see an evening of theatre last at least two hours, I could not have stood another hour of this incomprehensible ranting. One may argue that this reviewer is too old to get it. That may be so, but this reviewer is probably right in the middle of the age group that goes to theatre: primarily greying pre-boomers. Artistic Directors, dramturges and playwrights would do well to keep the demographic in mind.

The sound, lighting, and other technical aspects of the production were dead-on, and had to be, as there were many precision cues.

I usually like GCTC and NAC shows, but I am alarmed at the tendency to present one act plays as an evening of theatre. Time was, a one act play was the pre-show entertainment.

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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: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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