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Burnt Piano

  • 21st Nov, 2004 at 2:11 PM

Last night, I had a wonderful time with dcoombs as we went out to see the theatre again. This time, we took in Burnt Piano, a moving play about a woman's pilgrimage to Samuel Beckett, in an attempt to find meaning in her life.

For those interested in a professional review, I'd like to point out ones done by the Montreal Mirror and the Hour. I am more interested in the meta-commentary, as I feel unqualified to comment on the plays themselves.

This particular play opened with a fairly weak first act, that got surprisingly strong after the intermission. During the intermission, Dave and I sat down with the programme, to figure out who people were. We noticed Mary Harvey, whom we've seen before in Tiger's Heart. Neither of us recognised her on stage. In Tiger's Heart she was incredibly thin and bony, with her hair cropped short—for good reason, as she was pretending to be male. But I think her ability as an actress also fooled us, for she was a substantially different person in Burnt Piano.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that all the actors were particularly strong in this play. Francis Xavier McCarthy, who plays Mary's character's father, has the old curmudgeon act down well. And both actors were surprising good at banter and delivery. Their on-stage quarrels were discomforting and alive. Frank Fontaine and Carolyn Hetherington, who played Mr. and Mrs. Beckett were incredible as an aged couple. You could almost feel the translucent love between them. Although I think the piano performances were played off a tape, Carolyn's "playing" sure looked very realistic. She even did that head thing pianists do.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the whole thing turned out. It was pretty nice to see Waiting for Godot done in this interesting interpretation. Dave and I left the theatre and rushed through the rain to get to the Metro station. I took him out to dinner at the Wok Café, a great little place that Julie showed me. After a good meal and a long conversation, we both hopped on the metro and headed home.

Oh yes. I had mentioned that Julie was interested in taking in the theatre as well, and Dave said he actually had three tickets. So she can come along as well, when she gets here in the winter. I can hardly wait.