The Vancouver East Cultural Centre
presents Electric Company's 3-act play adapted from Jorge Amado's novel Dona Flor e seus dois maridos (1966) at the CULTCH March 3-10, 8pm. Tickets: 280-3311 or Ticketmaster.
by Ed Farolan
The Electrical Company lives up to its name presenting electrifying productions such as this one. For the weak of heart who are shocked at nudity on stage, I suggest this is not the show to watch. For voyeurs, perverts and art lovers, this is definitely for you.
I remember watching the movie version on Showcase TV a few years back, and I found the plot quite interesting. It's a story of a widow, Dona Flor (Carmen Aguirre) whose ghost husband Vadinho (Ty Olsson) comes back to haunt her.
Ty Olsson is nude in most of his scenes (as a ghost should be, I suppose) and Carmen Aguirre becomes flesh incarnate during her wedding night scene and towards the end, where, in a surrealistic twist, she joins her husband in hell. Olsson did a good job as the dynamic, typically intense and passionate Latino, while Aguirre was the more laid back Dona Flor. It made for a good contrast in character.
Other than the nudity aspect, I found the Latin flavour of this production come out with the Carnival scenes, with a Latin group playing the samba and Brazilian Carnival music. I also, as well as the audience, enjoyed the multiple stage technique used in this production where we leave the CULTCH after the first act and go to another venue, the Wise Hall, for the second act, and then return to the CULTCH for the final act.
It's a fun play, with dance, song, the Carnival costumes of Mardi Gras, and the Latin flavour put in by the Latino Theatre Group of Carmen Aguirre.
This reminds me of the plays of the seventies, "the happenings", where actors would interact with the audience. It would have been nice if the actors got the audience dancing the samba in the Casino scene, but then, that would have made the production longer and therefore, not as effective
The only thing I didn't agree with was the idea of having a 3-act rather than a 2-act play. The almost three hour production with two intermissions was a bit too long. Perhaps cutting down on some scenes that I found repetitive would also help in cutting down the running time.
But all in all, this was an "electrifying" production, and congratulations to the cast and crew for a job well done.