The Secret Son by Susanna Uchatius

Dates and Venue 22-25 April 2009 @ 8 pm | Roundhouse Community Arts Centre

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This is the story Arthur Miller did not want told, a modern Greek tragedy based on Miller's decision to deny the existence of his son born with Down Syndrome.

What Director/Playwright Susanna Uchatius does with this play is take excerpts from Aeschylus' Oresteia and quotes from Arthur Miller adapting them to her play.This "tragedy" is quite unique and in an open rehearsal I attended, I was impressed by the talent of the actors, many of them with down syndrome. Part of the cast is composed of professional and semi-professional actors who play the lead roles.

The diverse cast includes: Soksann McNamee, Marilyn Blandford, Valerie Sing Turner, Nigel Vonas, Sindy Angel, Greg Labine as the Actors; Christopher O. Cook, Alex Edwards, Celeste Insell, Jonah Killoran, Matthew Kowalchuk, and Callan Parker as the Chorus; and Sean Allan as the Author

The open rehearsal was done during World Theatre Day, and the public was invited to attend. Before the rehearsal, Tanya Marquandt, the dramaturg and movement consultant prepared the actors by doing voice and movement exercises, and shortly after, a message by Brazilian playwright who founded the Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal, was read. The last words of the letter which were quite impressive were "theatre is not just an event; it is a way of life".

Theatre Terrific has presented a number of plays through the years, participating last year in The Fringe. I admire what Uchatius has been doing for this group. "Beyond disabiity" is the motif of TheatreTerrific who have presented mostly Uchatius' scripts in the past such as doGs, The Glass Box, All Sorts, and House of Seikilos.

I'm sure that audiences of all sorts will enjoy the upcoming production of The Secret Son which is in its final weeks of rehearsal.

© 2008 Ed Farolan