Review: Three Women Mourn the Apocalypse (Old Norman Productions)

Poster Image TWMTAThree Women Mourn the Apocalypse, a play by Hannah Rittner is now playing at Toronto’s Theatre Centre

Three Women Mourn the Apocalypse by Old Norman Productions opened in the ever-versatile Theatre Centre at 1115 Queen St. West. The set was a large brick room with sparse furniture. There were chalk lines on the wall, marking the days the two inhabitants have been there. In the background, I could hear the persistent sound of whirring, like a generator. At that moment, I wondered if the room was a bunker or a prison. Were they there for protection, or for punishment?

The play, directed by Marina McClure and written by Hannah Rittner, takes place in an apocalyptic future. The world’s population has been diminished, but the reason is never revealed. The only thing that’s revealed to the audience is that there are very few people that remain, and they have been specially selected by the governing organization Corporate App to make it to the very end.

One of those specially selected citizens is Samantha, played by Nicole Cardoni. She is accompanied by her lover Melina, played by Sarah Baskin, who is classified by Corporate App as an “unnecessary citizen”. Melina is allowed to be in the room, only because of Samantha. The Corporate App representative Ekora, played by Carol Brown, makes it clear that Melina is nothing without Samantha.

The lines between bunker and prison are blurred throughout the play. Samantha and Melina each lean to different sides. Samantha, is convinced either by Corporate App or her own desires, that she can perfectly follow the rules into ascension. She has faith in their process, even when flaws in the system present themselves. Melina knows she is a prisoner. She sees past the allure of Corporate App.

Carol Brown played Ekora with a determined sweetness. Brown played the character with such extreme earnestness and encouragement, that it was unnerving. She looked like she’s constantly on the verge of a breakdown. In small ways, she did reveal the cracks of the surface, bursting into laughter or tears. Nicole Cardoni played Samantha like a cult member, who was unaware of how deep in the hole they were. She was naive, thinking doubt was the only thing that would be her undoing. Her blindness was frustrating. I wanted to run up to the stage and shake her and wake her up.

Sarah Baskin showed incredible emotional rawness. As an audience member and as someone who wasn’t indoctrinated in this strange dystopia, I felt for her the most. Baskin made me understand her anger and defiance. She made me understand her fear and despair. She made me understand her constant and painful love for her Samantha. Everything about her performance was beautifully tragic.

Some parts of the play weren’t clear. Dream and reality fused too close to be entirely sure about everything going on. It was a little difficult to piece the imagined apart from the reality, but I don’t think that mattered too much. The dreams were real to the characters. In the end, the events of the play weren’t the focus. The feelings caused by the events were more important. Three Women Mourn the Apocalypse was about emotions, and how we can’t protect ourselves from them. We are at their mercy. Much like in the play, I was at the mercy of them, after the performance. The heaviness of grief hit me in the gut and sat with me as I waited for my streetcar home.


  • Three Women Mourn the Apocalypse is playing at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St West)
  • Shows are playing until September 20th. Friday to Saturday shows are at 8pm, with a Sunday matinee at 2pm.
  • Regular tickets are $26. Students/seniors tickets are $23. Tickets can be purchased at the theatre, by phone at (416) 538-0988, or online.

Photo credit: Jay Oh