THUNDER BAY, ON ----- October 21, 2012 ---- It’s playing right now at Magnus Theatre. “Freedom 85” by playwright Debra Hale.
This is a two-actor multi -character tour de force. As the two women tell the story of 85 year old Sybil who has managed to escape the morgue (retirement residence) for awhile. Needing help she decides to befriend a younger women Kate and employs her as her personal assistant. As it turns out it is perhaps Kate that needs the assistance more than Sybil!
I found the play touching in some respects because it deals with the real side of people aging and the need to make decisions. It also delves into the depth of human character when faced with adversity.
This is a play that should be seen twice to really understand it. The reason being the multiple roles played by each women make the story difficult to follow. In my case my hearing aid batteries failed early in the first half so I simply missed a big chunk of the play. However the situation was rectified for the second half.
In thinking of Freedom 85 I thought of a play on the term “Freedom 55” once promoted by your favourite insurance company. In Canada the possibility writing a play on this are endless. It takes some nearly that long to pay off their student loans
In this play the women portray 14 characters, I would venture to say most people in the audience would have some difficulty sorting it all out. Most people in the City like their entertainment simply put and do not like the challenge of trying to figure out their entertainment. In this sense this play is not for everyone.
What makes the play work is the fact that Debora Hal and Andrea Risk quick and rapid exchanges from on character to the next is done convincingly. The use of accents helps to separate the characters. This team has been presenting “Freedom 85” in many other theatres including Toronto, Orangeville and New York. They have had plenty of opportunity to hone their presentation skills and they breath life into this play.
Magnus Theatre is a great modern up to date production facility and the show reflects the quality of this theatre. The show runs to November 3rd. Get your tickets for live theatre at 345 – 5552.
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com