Cruel and Tender

Big expectations here, with Atom Egoyan directing and Arsinee Khanjian starring. Alas, the expectations were not met.

The play is a modern day rewrite of Sophocles Trachiniae. The subject is war, the atrocities committed in war time and how those acts resonate at home. Lots of scope, but somehow the whole thing did not work. Unlike the critics, I had no problem hearing Khanjian and thought she was quite good. In fact the whole cast was quite good, but the writing and the direction did not support the talent.

It is easy enough to accept the plot in the original Greek play, but the modernisation resulted in a number of holes. The author tried to fit too any themes into the play that just left the audience unsatisfied. The poisoning of the General is a case in point – it gets all mixed up with a former lover who was working on chemical warfare. Just an unnecessary complication, but one the author threw in just to round out the themes of war time atrocities.

as usual, a great performance by Nigel Shawn Williams as Jonathan and by Jeff Lillico as James. Cara Ricketts Was wasted in her role, ( the out of tune karaoke was a pointless disaster) although Brenda Robins managed to deliver in spite of the direction and writing.

In spite of it all, the play did keep my attention throughout.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in Arsinee Khanjian, Atom Egoyan, Canstage 2012, n Williams, Nigel Shawn Williams. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Cruel and Tender

  1. Keith says:

    For me, it was just a waste of some excellent acting talent. The play is modern, only based on the Greek tragedy, but the language was so stilted, it sounded like a poor translation.Actors talked to the audience rather than having the characters interact; and the karaoke, well that was just strange – I don't know whether to blame the writer or director, but somebody messed up.I don't know what else to say; it was just a waste of time – for us and the actors.

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