Venue: The Telus Studio Theatre, UBC, Vancouver
Date(s): March 13-23, 2002
Reviewer: Jane Penistan
This version of The Creation is taken from The
York Cycle of medieval mystery plays. These plays were originally
used by the Roman Catholic Church to educate an illiterate population
in the beliefs and morals of Christianity. It is part of a trilogy that
includes The Passion (The Life of Christ) and Doomsday
Realizing that dogma alone could not keep the audience focused on a scene for any length of time, entertainment in the form of human error, misbehaviour and repartee became part of the early scripts which were performed by the people for the people.
Much of the medieval thinking is unacceptable to today's audience; thus, this Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptation is modernized and the offending misogyny and Anti-Semitism omitted. The language has also been modernized but the rhyming couplets remain the basic rhythmic speech.
Staging his production in the round, Stephen Drover manages to keep all his characters and effects in view of all sections of the auditorium. The four entrances are used thoughtfully and effectively. This is a ritualistic production. Actors' movement is choreographed and disciplined except in the comedic scenes where energy and free physicality is needed.
True to the tradition of Church drama, no actor's name is attached to any character, though with the exception of the powerful, magnificently voiced God, all the cast play more than one part.
As is expected from the text, Adam and Eve are innocently and gracefully naked. The serpent's shimmering blue-green scaly suit is as seductive as the serpent. The angels in their different coloured robes are dignified and as beautiful to behold as Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Other costumes are appropriate to the characters they adorn.
Light is an important part of this production. From the first glimmering of the candle to the full glory of the heavens, the lighting is in the right intensity, always enhancing the scene s and never distracting. Jennifer Farrell's soprano vocals are hauntingly beautiful. What a wonderful voice!
Stephen Drover and his cast have succeeded in bringing medieval thought to a twenty-first century state of the art theatre with much simplicity and integrity. They are to be congratulated.
© 2002, Jane Penistan
The Creation runs at the Telus Studio Theatre at UBC March 13-23, 2002, at 7.30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Tickets are available from the Frederic Wood Theatre Box Office or by calling 604-822-2678. Prices, Adults $16.00, Students & Seniors $10.00. Groups 10 or more $2.00 off adult or student/senior price.
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