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THUNDER BAY, ON ----- February 12, 2014 ----- “Night” the current production at Magnus Theatre, Thunder Bay, could well turn out to be one of the Night Magnus Theatrseason’s best productions. It does not have the marketing power of a show such as the Buddy Holly story, that story has had 40 years or more to develop a following.  This production is a contemporary theatre work by Christopher Morris.

 

Christopher captures the essence of life in the small Innu settlement of pond inlet, a small arctic community that dwells in darkness for months every winter. He also understands the people of this region, how important family is, and in many ways the respect they have for their ancestors influences their lives in the presence. Life in a place like Pond Inlet is so completely different from life in a place such as Toronto that it might as well be like living on another planet. It is a perfect backdrop for a Toronto based anthropologist to arrive un-announced bearing a package for one girl’s father. The daughter’s best friend had written an e-mail to the anthropologist asking for the return of her grandfather, who in the 1970’s was removed from the village due to tuberculosis and was sent south to a sanatorium. When he died his bones were preserved and kept at the museum where the anthropologist worked. The young girl who wrote the letter thought nothing would come of the e-mail so it was a complete surprise when the anthropologist shows up in Pond Inlet with the “grandfather”.



There is a number of long standing and un-resolved personal tragedies that need to be worked out before grandfather’s bones should be presented, and this unprepared arrival triggers consequences that could never be predicted by anyone. It makes a great story!



What is great about this production? Well for one thing Christopher Morris knows how to write a good human interest story. This production features aboriginal Canadians playing aboriginal roles and their work is simply excellent. If there is an overall theme for this production it is the overwhelming desire to be loved and understood. Given the cultural divide between the North and the South it seems almost impossible to overcome, but once you have seen this play you will have a better insight and I dare say understanding of the human elements and tragedies in this play.



If I were to play a character in this play it would be that of the radio announcer. Some of his lines delivered in a bored flat matter of fact tone are quite funny from a southern perspective.



This play is directed by the playwright Christopher Morris and features Reneltta Arluk as Gloria, Tiffany Ayalik as Piuyuk, Jonathan Fischer as Jayco/Candyman and Linnea Swann as Daniella.



This play is a good work; it is well produced and professionally acted in a professional Theatre. Once in a while a new gem appears out of nowhere and in the middle of our long cold winter perhaps the arctic setting of this play is most appropriate. Don’t let the cold weather keep you from seeing this play, for that matter do not let the Winter Olympics keep you from seeing this play, there are always re-runs of the important competitions but this play will run from February 6th to February 22nd only. Call  the box office at 345-5552 for more information and tickets.



Bert Rowson

Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com


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