The Dining Room
Scores of scenes, dozens of characters portray a vanishing class
In February 2017, ACT (a community theatre) will offer a unique theatre experience. Directed by Terry Pratt, The Dining Room will take audience members on a journey through various decades of the 20th century and give them glimpses of upper-middle-class, North American WASP family life, as depicted in short scenes that share a common setting: a dining room.
A.R. Gurney’s play presents a perspective on a vanishing – or indeed, perhaps now completely vanished – social class. While privileged and pretentious, it is one that is also loyal and loving, placing great value on the rituals of eating and talking as a family and holding family councils. The audience will be welcomed into that intimate setting and will witness the intricacies of life in various eras throughout the 20th century.
Another exciting element about the play is the fact that six actors will play 55 characters – that’s eight to ten characters per actor. This poses both a challenge for the actors and a treat for audience members, as they watch familiar faces transform from scene to scene. For ACT newcomer Suzanne Wilkie, one such challenge is remembering that nothing we see is arbitrary and that each scene is “the most important, the most vibrant” in any given character’s life. “Otherwise,” she says, “why would we be showing this snapshot?” Every scene treats the audience to pivotal, intimate moments ordinarily hidden from view.
Performances will be at Le Carrefour Theatre, 2 Acadian Drive, Charlottetown on February 17 and 18 at 7:30pm and February 18 at 2:00 pm, as well as at the Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, Charlottetown, on February 4th for a matinee at 2pm Tickets are available on www.ticketwizard.ca
ACT will also stage the play in individual homes in the style of “chamber” theatre – sure to be an immersive experience for those in attendance; these performances have already sold out.
Visit the blog for backgrounders: http://thediningroomsite.wordpress.com/
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