by Lynn on April 20, 2024

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at Young People’s Theatre, Toronto, Ont. Playing until May 2, 2024.

Written by Kevin Dyer

Directed by Stephen Colella

Set and costumes by Anna Treusch

Lighting by Jareth Li

Sound by Olivia Wheeler

Video by Joshua Hind

Cast: Zoé Doyle

Eponine Lee

Eric Peterson

An important play that talks about grief and death with love, care and understanding.

NOTE: The production is recommended for young people from 8-13 years old.

Meghan is a young girl who is having a terrible day. She bursts into her Grandad’s workshop-shed in a bad mood, slams the door and locks it with both bolts on the door. Her Mum is concerned and comes after Meghan, but Meghan ignores her and won’t open the door. While Meghan is obviously upset and angry she knows that her Grandad has listed various chores for her to accomplish, on a blackboard on the wall. Meghan has to fix a switch; fix the train and set up the tracks;  and fix the handle on the toaster so she and her Grandad can make toast and tea.

Usually Meghan’s Grandad would help her but he isn’t there for some reason. As the play continues, we can imagine why. Grandad does appear in spirit and he too says he’s had a bad day.

Under her Grandad’s careful eye, and impish humour, Meghen has learned to fix broken appliances etc. or repurpose them. Her Grandad hates waste and feels that if a thing can be fixed then it should be fixed to continue its usefulness. He also felt that a thing that is too broken can be repurposed for something else.

We can see that Meghan’s Grandad and Meghan had a special rapport. He left her notes in the workshop as a means of communicating with her to do what she knows how to do. He was giving her confidence when she doesn’t think she has any. And to reach out to her mother who is grieving too.

The production is dandy. Director Stephen Colella has created a lively, energetic production that also captures the wounding sadness of losing a loved one. As Meghan, Eponine Lee is wonderful as the angry, upset, confused and grieving soul. She does not want to hear what her mother obviously had to tell her about her Grandad so she charges into the workshop shed, bangs the door, locks the locks and hides, grieving. Eponine Lee takes Meghan’s energy and resolve and focuses it into racing around the workshop to fix the things she had to. She must prove herself to her Grandad even if he’s not there. When she gets stuck, she will find a note with an impish message, that will help. When she realizes that while Grandpa is in her heart, she wishes he was in the workshop too with her.

Eric Peterson plays the funny, irascible Grandpa. This is a man who can fix anything (including one imagines, a broken heart) and he has the love and patience to pass on his wisdom to his receptive granddaughter. There is fun and a sense of impishness in Peterson’s performance. Perhaps Grandad and granddaughter bring out the best in each other.

And Zoé Doyle plays Meghan’s mum, who has her own journey of grief to contend with. Zoé Doyle gives a lovely, tempered, delicate performance of a grieving daughter who must in turn tend to her own grieving daughter. It’s a performance of grief mixed with love and concern.

A message of the show is reuse, repair and repurpose. One gets that sense from Anna Treusch’s wonderfully eclectic set that has bits and bobs of stuff around the space that are used or repurposed The set is made of repurposed wood, structures, doors, tools secret hiding places and a wonderful sense of order and whimsy.

The play also deals with grief for a loved one and death as well that somehow teaches us to deal with grief and other unpleasant emotions. Most important, the plays is also about the healing power of love.

Young People’s Theatre Presents:

Playing until May 2, 2023.

Running time: 80 minutes (no intermission)

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