GORE BAY—This reporter was able to watch a dress rehearsal of Gore Bay Theatre’s production of ‘Boiler Room Suite’ last weekend. This play opens tonight, March 19, and audiences are in for a very engaging, entertaining and powerful evening of theatre. A cast featuring experienced actors John Hawke, Shannon McMullan and John Robertson give stellar performances and is one of the strongest ensembles seen on the Gore Bay stage.
The play is about two homeless people who meet in the boiler room of a hotel. They “conjure up reality” using their imagination playing multiple roles; entertaining us but also making us aware of various social and political issues.
They are interrupted by the hotel caretaker and the comedy turns more dramatic as their sanctuary from the cold is threatened.
The play is written by Rex Deverell, who was once a Baptist minister and won the Canadian Authors Association Award for writing, and has become a Canadian classic.
It is a terrific choice for Canada’s 150th anniversary and as the Waterloo Record says, it is a “play about warmth, imagination, caring, compassion, kindness and hope.” It also about loneliness, humiliation, despair and loss.”
One moment the play is tickling our funny bone, the next pulling our heart strings, and the next a spiritual meditation on the nature of being. We feel for these characters, we feel their joy, we laugh with them, we feel their pain, we cry with them, and when they dance we dance with them. These characters could be any of us and we empathize with their struggles to survive.
There is so much to contemplate in this play and like any good work of art I am looking forward to seeing it again.
Not surprisingly Gore Bay Theatre maintains its reputation for visual and technical achievement. The set is one of their best, a very grungy but artistically interesting depiction of a boiler room with pipes crossing every which way, some in the shape of a cross-reinforcing the religious symbolism throughout the play.
The sound design, all original music, composed and performed by a Toronto musician who summers on the Island, Vern Dorge, is absolutely incredible; at times haunting or contemplative with a wonderful mix of jazz and big band.
The lighting, particularly the boiler, is excellent and evocative.
Kudos to co-directors Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel for producing and directing this fascinating and powerful play. And they assembled an excellent team to support an excellent cast with performances that are unforgettable. Don’t miss this marvelous evening of theatre!
After its Gore Bay run, the production will be performed at the Quonta (Northern Ontario) Drama Festival in Timmins, in a 600 seat state of the art theatre. The company of ‘Boiler Room Suite’ is looking forward to represent the Island.
Information about tickets and performance times can be found in the advertisement in this issue.