Gore Bay Theatre presents this year’s QUONTA entry ‘Exit the King’

The veteran cast of ‘Exit the King’ pose for a photo following their dress rehearsal. In photo, from left, are Jack Clark, Tara Bernatchez, Lori Evans, John Hawke, Shannon McMullan and John Robertson. photo by Andrea Emmerton

GORE BAY—The Gore Bay Theatre Company (GBTC) has never shied away from taking on a challenge and that artistic courage has been validated by the company’s perennial success at the QUONTA Festival, Northern Ontario’s premier theatre showcase and competition. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the company boasts one of the most diverse and experienced rosters to be found in any company of players this side of the Big Smoke.

This year the GBTC team is presenting Eugène Ionesco’s ‘Exit the King’ (Le Roi se meurt in the original French), an absurdist drama that first took to the stage in 1962.

“It is amazing that the play is even more relevant today than it was back in the early ‘60s,” said Director Walter Maskel. “It was revived on Broadway in 2009 to great reviews. At the time it was a reaction to George Bush and very popular, but with everything that is going on today in the world it is even more poignant.”

The story line is about a narcissistic king, Beringer the First, who believes he can force everyone around him to do his bidding, including nature. Although King Beringer is rumoured to be over 400-years-old, he learns that he is in fact now dying and that the kingdom he built his crumbling even as he himself declines—denial ensues with tragi-comedic effect.

“He has his own set of ‘facts’ about everything,” said Mr. Maskel. “Remind you of anyone?”

The play is being directed by the award-winning team of Mr. Maskel and Andrea Emmerton, who have veteran thespians Jack Clark, Tara Bernatchez, Lori Evans, John Hawke, Shannon McMullan and John Robertson from which to mold an exceptional theatrical performance.

“Casting is nearly everything and we are very fortunate to have these experienced actors to work with,” said Mr. Maskel.

It also helps to have a strong story to tell and ‘Exit the King’ has all of that. “It has been said that the final 10 minutes of the play is the most stirring in theatre,” said Mr. Maskel. “It is very, very evocative.”

The GBTC production also features period costuming and an innovative set to add to the experience.

‘Exit the King’ is sure to offer a great break from the late winter blahs and takes to the stage on March 9, 10 and 11. The first two performances take place at 7:30 pm, while the Sunday show will be a matinee at 2 pm. All tickets are $20 and will be sold at the door.