Review: The Apology – (Rabiayshna Productions) – Next Stage Theatre Festival

by Michelle Barker

George Byron, Percy Shelley, Claire Clairmont, and Mary Shelley.  They’re all names you’ve probably heard.  But… you’ve probably never seen them like this.

The brilliant Darrah Teitel has created an incredible play based on what these four young people might have experienced and done while writing the masterpieces for which they came to be known.  The Apology, currently playing at Factory Theatre, isn’t an historical account of their time in Switzerland, but it’s definitely engaging and definitely sexy.

For the duration of the play, 18-year-old Mary Wollstencraft-Godwin is writing her masterpiece, Frankenstein.  Since Mary’s father was one of the first proponents of anarchism and her mother was a feminist writer, both themes play important roles in The Apology.  But those aren’t the only topics explored; the characters become tangled in themes of politics, polyamory, monsters, utopia, maternity, and, of course, sex.

Director Audrey Dwyer seems the perfect match for Teitel’s intelligent writing.  Some incredible and profoundly moving moments take place between the well-executed comedic exchanges.  The absurdly beautiful and absurdly talented women of the piece, Kaitlyn Riordan and Sascha Cole, gave some of the most captivating performances that I’ve seen onstage in quite some time.

Sound design by Thomas Ryder-Payne is worth noting; the choice to use instrumental, string versions of Lady Gaga hits during transitions provided a comical modern element to the piece.  The brilliant Kimberly Purtell provided the amazingly emotive lighting design for which she is known.

While you might want to leave the kids at home for this one (adult themes and nudity are prevalent throughout the 75-minute show), you must see The Apology before it closes at the Next Stage Theatre Festival.  It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s sexy, and the cast is incredible.  What’s not to love?

The Apology is part of The Next Stage Theatre Festival and is playing at the Factory Theatre Studio Space at the corner of Bathurst and Adelaide.
-The show runs for 75 minutes with no intermission
-Tickets are $12 to $15.  There are also packages available.
-Tickets can be purchased online, by phone – 416-966-1062 or 1-866-515-7799, or at the box office inside the heated McAusland Beer Tent at Factory Theatre
The Apology runs until January 16, 2011.

Photo of Kaitlyn Riordan, Brendan McMurty-Howlett, Sascha Cole, and David Beazely

2 thoughts on “Review: The Apology – (Rabiayshna Productions) – Next Stage Theatre Festival”

  1. What’s not to love?
    I’m sorry but I must disagree with your review. The play comes off as a version of the movie Cruel Intentions. The characters do become tangled in the themes you mentioned, except monsters which could have been explored and added depth to the play. The problem is each theme is touched on for about 20 seconds and then we’re back to the same 20-somethings sitting around pouting.
    I think for any of the exchanges to be “profoundly moving” as you call it, the play would need likable characters, something the script doesn’t allow for. Shelley is so dynamic he pulls the other three into the group, for example, but do we see any of that dynamic personality on stage?
    The costumes are whatever the actors had on that day, with the inclusion of sexy underwear to make them look good. Hardly representative of the late 1800’s, and yet another example of how this play refuses to scratch beneath the surface.

  2. Okay, so, my caveat before this comment is that I haven’t seen the show in question, but…

    If it’s set in the 1800, wouldn’t it be more likely to be like a version of the book (or play, or movie) Dangerous Liaisons, which Cruel Intentions is directly based on?

    I’m curious though, if it was intended to be. There have been so many adaptations of Dangerous Liaisons, I’m a little curious to see this one (if it is one) to see what it presents that’s different.

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