Tempus Theatre Company
By Naomi lizuka

Director Anthony F. Ingram Set Design Todd Parker Costume Design Nina Prelog Lighting Design Darren Boquist Projection Design Corwin Ferguson Sound Design Ronin Wong Stage Manager Michael Brooks

Dates and Venue 1 – 23 May 2009, 8pm | Jericho Arts Centre

Reviewer Jane Penistan

36 Views covers a multitude of sins and several virtues. The 36 views are a reference to 36 views of Mount Fuji, a collection of woodblock prints by Katsushika Hokusal (1760 – 1849). The play deals with issues connected with ethics and art fraud, values, reflections, life styles and personal relationships, among others. With so much to examine its small wonder the viewers are left with some uncertainty at the end of the performance.

Anthony F. Ingram has a strong versatile cast. His set has various artworks projected onto screens placed at strategic points of the sparse set so that his cast may walk round the art gallery viewing the paintings on exhibition during the run of the play.

Accolades must go to Darren Boquist and Corwin Ferguson for their excellent combined work and Nina Prelog for the beautiful and ingenious costumes incorporating Japanese traditional styles.

Michael Kopsa gives a strong performance as the dubious art dealer, Darius Wheeler, trying to evaluate his profit on a work shown to him as a genuine ancient Japanese pillow book. The book in question is the reputed anonymous diary of a court lady of the Helan era of Japan.

Unknown to Wheeler is the fact that his associate, John Bell (Bert Steinmanis) has collaborated with Claire Tsong (Valerie Sing Turner) to create this artifact. Setsuko Hearn (Lissa Neptuno), an academic expert in Helan era literature is very interested in acquiring the volume for research.
Meanwhile a professor at the local university, Owen Matthiassen, (Keith Martin Gordey) is also anxious to investigate this book. As a good academic he is doubtful of its provenance. He ultimately proves his point by demonstrating discrepancies in the text.

Another dubious member of the interested examiners of the book is Elizabeth Newman-Orr (Annabel Kershaw), a journalist who is in need of something spectacular to renew life in her column. She would be delighted to prove this sensational find a fake.

It is not only the prized volume that may not be what it appears to be, developing relationships among the company may also be so. Who is really genuine? Who is unscrupulously dishonest? What are the real feelings of all the assorted academics and wheeler-dealers?

Perhaps this is all just court gossip! You have to go and be intrigued by this tightly interwoven script and its very well acted, directed and produced presentation by Tempus Theatre Company to find out.

© 2009 Jane Penistan