The Dance of Death

In her program notes, director Martha Hanry describes seeing a production of Strindberg’s The Dance of Death at Stratford fifty years ago, directed by and starring Jean Gascon.  She also comments that this play cannot be performed by just anyone. It requires three actors of talent and experience, which she has in Jim Mezon as the Captain, (Edgar),  Fiona Reid as Alice and Patrick Galligan as Kurt.

The play is gripping from beginning to end. At first, it seems like the ordinary bickering of a long married couple.Then it evolves into paranoia. The question is which of the pair is the paranoid? The suspense is maintained to the very end, with your sympathy shifting from one character to the next, depending on who is speaking.

The shocking scene in which Alice forces Kurt to his knees is the beginning of the end.

The final scene is astonishing, it is so unexpected. Strindberg is not a happy man or a happy playwrite, but his plays are certainly worth watching.

This play was definitely number two for the week. It is still in oreviews, so I expect it will get even better.

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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 Shaw 2016, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Dance of Death

  1. Lidia says:

    Hello Cathy,

    I work in the communications department at the Shaw Festival and it’s my job to monitor daily coverage about the Festival. In doing so, I came across your lovely blog and I’d like to thank you for your enthusiasm for the Shaw Festival, as well as your honest opinion about our productions.

    I would just like to ask that you clarify in your posts whether or not you are seeing a preview performance. I see you did so for Master Harold, which is great! The Dance of Death is also still in previews, so although your review is positive it’s important to note to your readers that the production may change.

    Thanks again for your support of the Shaw Festival, Cathy. I look forward to any more reviews you may write about our other productions!

    Lidia

  2. keithhpotter says:

    A bit of a melodrama, but great work from the cast.
    I did have an irritating tendency to snort with laughter every time an actor left the set and had to pretend to run up and down stairs. I had visions of them standing behind the set wall running on the spot. However, I resisted counting to see if they got the same number of steps each time.

  3. keithhpotter says:

    I have sometimes commented on Fiona Reid slipping into a formulaic performance. However, this production, like The Divine, shows what an excellent actress she really is.

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