Saturday, March 10, 2007

Canadian Stage's "Lucy"

I enjoyed Damien Atkins' role in Soulpepper's "The Importance of Being Ernest" last fall, and so was intrigued to see that he was the author of one of Canadian Stage's offerings this year, "Lucy". I was invaded by a little apprehension, well documented here by Richard Ouzounian, when I became aware that the play was about an autistic child.
But for me the first act worked really well; Meg Roe and Seana McKenna were utterly wonderful in their roles, and were superbly supported by the rest of the cast. Atkins' script seemed to work very well for me. It was an excellent tutorial in life around a severe autistic child, as well as drama of reasonably credible characters.
In the second act I thought Atkins wrote himself into some strange corner, and then had to summon up an 'Intervention' to get out of the corner. It meant there was no really nice dramatic resolution, but then neither should there have been in this story, I think.
Along the way we had some touching ruminations on what bonds parents and children, what a funny species we are, academic life and the ambition to make a great discovery, and what to do about those who do not fit comfortably into the lives we get asked to live. The play seemed wise in some ways beyond what I perceive to be the author's age. I look forward to future work from him.
The cast were supported by some very nice work with stage design and its use, and the sound design as well, which helped us a lot make the imaginative leap into a brain not like ours.


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