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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: The American Dream and The Sandbox

Finding Sense in The Absurd
Albee at McGill is challenging
by Rachel Zuroff

McGill Players Theatre is currently presenting The American Dream and The Sandbox by Edward Albee, two one-act plays with recurring characters, both written within the tradition of the Theatre of the Absurd.  The plots are not at all straightforward; instead, they are oblique and filled with vague references rather than explicit declarations. Indeed the plays announce that they are "plays" and yet don't conform to the expectations of theatre. The most I can say of their plot is that they follow the story of a married couple, a grand-mother, a professional woman and a stranger.

I find them irresistible in a way that more professional productions frequently are not.

However, I very much enjoyed the production. It’s a funny thing about student productions, but I always seem to heartily enjoy them.  There’s something about their simplicity that allows them to be authentic and touching, and there’s something about the love for the theatre demonstrated by both the performers and the audience that lends them a unique quality.  I find them irresistible in a way that more professional productions frequently are not.

Cory Lipman as the stranger is distractingly beautiful, and his performance is superb. The timing of his monologues and the subtlety of his facial expressions are exquisitely touching. Although I wasn’t quite convinced by the performances of Charles-Adam Foster-Simard or Gabriela Petrov as Daddy and Mommy at the beginning of the evening, by the end, their interpretations had grown on me, and their final scene was superb.  Maija Sidial Whitney and Rebecca Gibian give similarly excellent performances.

Runs to October 29, at Players Theatre

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