Local Theatre Group Moves Outside For Unique Collaboration

Thursday August 25th, 2022

Posted at 4:00pm

0
0
0

Photo courtesy Fay Lynn.

Heading into the great outdoors, a local theatre company is making a connection with nature.

Taking place from Friday to Sunday, Post Productions will help stage A Great Round Wonder at Sanctuary Woods (located at 1321 Front Road) in Amherstburg.) Billed as a “dramatic ecollage” by Windsor playwright, director, producer and actor Barry T. Brodie, the show is a co-production between him, Post and the Kenneth G. Mills Foundation.

Exploring how we can save ourselves from environmental disaster, Brodie describes his play in its press release as, “The journey of one person through the realization that you cannot change the outer environment unless you are willing to change your inner environment.”

Knowing the playwright beforehand, the theatre company was also excited about his unique presentation.

“We’ve been in contact with [Brodie] throughout the pandemic as he comes to see most of our plays,” said Post Productions partner and producer Michael K. Potter. “It was actually he who approached us a few months ago about co-producing A Great Round Wonder. We’ve always been keen to find a way to work with him on something. This seemed like a very intriguing and unique piece of theatre. In some ways it’s quite different from a typical Post Productions show, but in some important respects it’s in line with what we do: it aims to make the audience feel and leave them thinking.”

A CEO of an oil and gas company, Beck (Fay Lynn) is brought to a special tree by her daughter Phoenix (Alyssa Doherty.) Presented as a spot where the younger woman goes to think, the CEO soon encounters spirits representing four great thinkers: Kenneth G. Mills (Brodie,) John Muir (Shayla Hudson,) David Suzuki (Dean Valentino) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (Maggie Marchenkowski.)

Beck ultimately realizes the only way we can avoid environmental destruction is by changing the way we relate to nature. It also requires a different approach to how we view ourselves.

Taking place at such a unique venue also helps amplify all aspects of this message.

“The poetic language and open-air setting make A Great Round Wonder truly unique,” said producer/actor Lynn in the play’s press release. “Hearing these beautiful and challenging ideas, underscored by original music composed by Ben Goldstein, in a setting such as Sanctuary Woods connects you to the themes of this piece in a very visceral way.”

That doesn’t mean staging an outdoor production didn’t come without challenges however.

“Probably our most immediate concern was rain and what we would do if the clouds opened up atop the show,” said Potter. “Beyond that, there were challenges ensuring that the actors were well lit, that their voices and the music and the audio clips used were all audible. The tech had to be functional and safe in the elements. We also couldn’t have the audience staring directly into the sun. There were also logistical concerns regarding washrooms and chair placement, things like that. Luckily, the location itself is not only picturesque on its own, but also provides ample shade for the audience and an inspiring backdrop for the actors.”

After putting on Bite Me Big Time with Purple Theatre Co., this play is Post’s second co-production of 2022. By the end of the year, they’ll have also staged five plays of their own. Being their first show with Brodie, the group hope this play won’t be the last.

Performances of A Great Round wonder will take place outdoors from Sanctuary Woods at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Matinee performances will also be held on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or in person with cash while supplies last. The show is being presented by Post Productions and The Kenneth G. Mills Foundation in association with Waawiiyaatanong Feminist Theatre.

Balancing their message, all involved hope the play gives audiences something to think about.

“Honestly, I think that whenever someone tries to incorporate a positive message or theme into a story, some people are going to call it preachy no matter what,” said Potter. “…A Great Round Wonder isn’t preachy because it isn’t telling you specifically what to do. It isn’t telling you precisely what to do or even what you should value. Instead, what [Brodie] has done with this work is craft a series of conversations that begin with some basic truths that none of us can contradict — for example, that we all need clean air, water, and soil to survive. No one can really disagree with that. So what’s next? That’s what A Great Round Wonder explores: the implications of these basic truths, and how we can address them by changing the way we think about ourselves and nature.”

Do You Like This Article?