by Lynn on January 31, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Assembly Theatre, 1479 Queen St. W, Toronto, Ont.

Written by Genevieve Adam

Directed by Tyler J. Sequin

Set and costumes by Nancy Anne Perrin

Lighting by Imogen Wilson

Sound and composition by Alex Eddington

Cast: Genevieve Adam

Audrey Clairman

Michael Illiadis

John Fitzgerald Jay

Paul Rivers

Garret C. Smith

Brianne Tucker

Playwright-actor Genevieve Adam does it again—writes a play and acts beautifully in it that is bristling with life, vibrant language, mystery, danger and passionate kissing.

The Play.  This is set in New France, Ville-Marie, 1661. Dark Heart is a prequel to Adam’s first play, Deceitful Above All Others also set in New France and is about the wild and wooly world of pioneers, discovering a new world, peoples of different cultures, living by ones wits and being more wily than your neighbor and perhaps werewolves.

Amable Bilodeau (Michael Illiadis) is a soldier in New France and would really like to go home to France. He saves the life of Toussaint Langlois (Garret C. Smith) who thanks him by stealing his bayonet and musket. Toussant is a dangerous, brooding man of two cultures, and a courier du bois. What he doesn’t know about trapping and hunting in the woods isn’t worth knowing. He’s having an affair with Madeleine (Audrey Clairman) who is married to Seigneur Louis de Lamothe, (Paul Rivers) a rude and abusive husband and bully. Lamothe  came into a lot of land and it’s gone to his head, and no doubt other parts of his body. Nasty man.

There is Dr. Joseph Sarrazin (John Fitzgerald Jay)  who is also a priest who has urges of the flesh; Sister Marie St. Bonaventure (Brianne  Tucker)  who works with the Dr. and has her own urges and a secret. And finally there is Eleanore “Lizzie” Ramezay (Genevieve Adam) who never met a man she couldn’t come on to, flirt with and bring to his knees. These are the rough pioneers who settled the country.

The Production. Nancy Anne Perrin has created a simple set of three birch trees and a hide of some sort stretched up stage right for evocative flavor of people who hunt and use the whole animal. The costumes are period with large shirts and breeches for the men and work dresses for the women.

There is a robustness to Tyler J. Seguin’s directing. The space is well used with entrances and exits coming from the aisle of the auditorium. Relationships are well established, as is the rough and tumble world of New France in 1661. The acting is bold as well. Garret C. Smith as Toussaint is imposing and quiet spoken which makes him deadly. He doesn’t need to yell or be a bully to command respect. He just has to look and stare down his opponent and he wins. And the fact that he’s a master fighter helps too. Genevieve Adam sparkles as Lizzie. She flirts, pushes boundaries and has such smiling confidence in herself. Nothing scares Lizzie and it’s all in Adam’s performance.

 Comment. Genevieve Adam has written a wonderful period play set in 1661 that is also as contemporary as today. She has a facility for creating credible dialogue for that time. She has a masterful turn of phrase that is both witty and appropriate. And the story of the intrigue of these characters crackles along. Genevieve Adam is the real deal. More please.

Thought for Food Productions:

Opened: Jan. 26, 2018.

Closes: Feb. 11, 2018.

Running Time: 80 minutes






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