Review: THE CENOTAPH PROJECT (Barrie, Ont)

by Lynn on July 28, 2019

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Five Points Theatre, Barrie, Ont.

Created by Danielle Joy Kostrich

Directed by Leah Holder

Set by Joe Pagnan

Lighting by Elizabeth Richardson

Sound by Joshua Doerksen

Cast: Keelan Ballantyne

Alyssa Bartholomew

Drew Carter

Gabriella Circosta

Alex Clay

Alex Hurst

Avi Petliar

Madison Stewart

“What do you know about the Second World War?” The question was posed last year to drama students at Eastview Secondary School in Barrie, Ont. by playwright Danielle Joy Kostrich. The answers formed part of the wonderful show known as The Cenotaph Project. The bulk of the show concerns the lives of various young men and women from Barrie, Ont. who did sign up for the Second World War and sometimes paid the ultimate price. Their names are on the Cenotaph in downtown Barrie.

Clint Lowell taught high school in Barrie and encouraged his students to research the names on the Cenotaph and find out their stories. Those stories formed the basis of his book, “The Boys From Barrie.” Those stories in turn comprise The Cenotaph Project. A group of young actors ranging in age from 17 to 29 realize the stories.

A young man Dominic D’ambrosio was Canadian of Italian descent. He was unsure of who he really was: Canadian or Italian, and further wondered if he should support Italy even though  they were on the ‘other’ side?  A fascinating dilemma.

A young man loved music and musical theatre but enlisted in the military as his profession. The young actor playing him found many similarities between them but wondered why his character didn’t follow his love of music as his profession. Other young men signed up to fight in the war and were terrified, but felt it their duty.

Through their research the young cast discovered many things they didn’t know about World War Two, about themselves and the people they researched. They questioned if they could find the courage to enlist if they were faced with the prospect of war, as these young men and women did.

Danielle Joy Kostrich’s script is finely written, captures the dilemma’s of the young men and women faced with the daunting decision to enlist, and shows how the young people enacting the Cenotaph stories have a deeper understanding of what happened in World War Two.

Leah Holder’s direction is spare, clear and very evocative using simple props. The cast is focused and make these lives so richly moving. At the end, when the cast explained who they were and the person they played, they teared up with emotion. Me too.

Theatre by the Bay presents:

Began: July 17, 2019.

Closed: July 27, 2019.

Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.

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1 Cathy January 12, 2021 at 9:15 pm

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