Sneak Preview Review: THE JUST

by Lynn on March 11, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

Sneak preview review

The Just

At the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, Ont.

By Albert Camus
Translated by Bobby Theodore
Directed by Frank Cox-O’Connell
Set and Lighting by Ken MacKenzie
Costumes by Shannon Lea Doyle
Sound by Debashis Sinha
Cast: Raquel Duffy
Peter Fernandes
Katherine Gauthier
Diego Matamoros
Gregory Prest
Brenan Wall

The Just is Albert Camus’s (French writer/philosopher) take on the true events of the assassination of the Russian Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich in 1905 in Moscow. The play was first produced in Paris in 1949. No doubt the Nazi occupation of Paris during WWII influenced Camus in his writing of The Just.

The Just is densely philosophical, musing on the moral and ethical questions of revolution for a righteous and just cause. The five revolutionaries in the play plan to kill the Grand Duke to end the tyranny of oppression on the Russian people. Is it murder if it’s for a just cause? Is there anything greater than the Revolution? Is killing children unacceptable in the quest for freedom for the people? Is there a place for love and hate in the cause? Is this terrorism or revolution? The Just certainly has echoes in various instances of revolt, terrorism and murder in the name of a cause, in modern times.

The play is fascinating. The characters are deeply committed, sometimes conflicted, afraid of the consequences, and human. Frank Cox-O’Connell has directed and staged his cast with thoughtful efficiency. However at times his directorial flourishes seem more like over-emphasized grandstanding rather than being helpful to the production: Two window frames suspended in space come crashing down for effect at the end of Act I; a square jail cell in Act II is created when four heavy chains drop suspended from the flies with a bang, and then at the end of the scene the chains completely crash in a heap to the stage.

As Yanek, the revolutionary with so much to lose, Gregory Prest is angst-ridden, passionate, and so captures the character, he’s like a fire blazing in the wind. Raquel Duffy as Dora, the woman who loves him and the revolution, is a voice of calm reason until her emotions get the better of her. Duffy gives a powerful performance of a woman who runs out of options.

Full review of The Just will be posted tomorrow. The Just will also be reviewed on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING, 89.5 fm between 9 am and 10 am. Friday, March 11.

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