Written by Hanna Waswa “This is the way the universe begins.”
So opens Craig Wright’s The Pavilion, the debut production of the Green Hall Theatre Company. directed by Eleanor Felton.
The Pavilion is the story of Peter, played by Cody Friesen, and Kari, played by Amy Dauer. The high school sweethearts, who separated when Kari became pregnant, reunite at their ten-year high school reunion, and over the course of the night the two struggle to understand their feelings toward each other, their lives, and the universe. Circling it all is the Narrator, played by Brandon Bate, who intermittently slips in and out of Peter and Kari’s worlds as the rest of their classmates, male and female, leading to several hilarious and deeply insightful moments.
Major themes of the work include the role of time, memory, and forgiveness in the human experience, and yet, even though each of those words conveys an artsy avant-garde production, The Pavilion is solidly grounded in the actors’ ability to draw the crowd into the emotions of Kari and Peter. The set design, done by Mikaela Fuqua, caters to this simple, yet not simplistic, aspect of the show.
Despite the obvious mature themes and strong language, The Pavilion is incredibly God-honouring. The honesty and integrity that pervade the actor’s performances more than covers the language. Although the actors only had a week and a half to prepare for their actual performances, leading to several stuttered lines, the emotional honesty and resonance given to every action more than compensates for this relatively minor stumble.
As I sat through this riveting production, memories of my own began to surface, and things I had been holding onto confronted me and asked if I, like Kari and Peter, could let them go and allow the universe to go on. This is the essence of true theatre: that the audience confronts their own lives through the interaction of stage and audience.