Sneak Preview Review: THE CRACKWALKER

by Lynn on March 25, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

At Factory Theatre, Mainspace, Toronto, Ont.

Written and directed by Judith Thompson
Visual Artist, Randi Helmers
Lighting by Laileigh Krysztofiak
Cast: Claire Armstrong
Yolanda Bonnell
Waawaate Fobister
Greg Gale
Stephen Joffe

Judith Thompson exploded into the Canadian theatre scene with her first play, The Crackwalker, in 1980. It is the unflinching, gripping story of four people, marginalized by society and its expectations. A fifth character is “The Crackwalker” a spirit who bedevils, haunts, and embraces those characters.

Thirty-six years later Thompson is directing The Crackwalker for the Factory Theatre’s, ‘naked season’—unadorned with sets, props and fancy effects. There is the play, those characters and a playwright/director who has always championed them. Over those 36 years Thompson has written about characters on the outside, isolated, abandoned, overlooked, ignored and unseen, except for her perceptive sharp eye. She puts her characters right in front of us and makes us look, see and care.

Her production of The Crackwalker at the Factory Theatre is stunning. The power of this play has not diminished over the years. Thompson’s detailed direction of this simple production, puts the audience in the world of her characters.

Theresa is a developmentally delayed young woman who tries to find love where she can, usually in inappropriate places. We learn Theresa is supervised by a social worker and we get the sense the system here is overloaded and stretched with terrible results. Alan is a young man who loves Theresa, but he too has his issues. Sandy and Joe love each other in a battling way. The Man is the trickster who toys with them.

We are not these people, but Thompson in her writing of The Crackwalker and her direction of it makes us ache for and embrace each one of them.

The full review of The Crackwalker will be broadcast on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING, 89.5 fm. (March 25) 9 am to 10 am. I’ll also interview Judith Thompson as well on the show.

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