7 Important Things – part of SummerWorks – opened last night at Theatre Passe Muraille. Opening nights can be tricky. Sometimes the cast isn’t quite as comfortable with the piece as they will be later on. The audience can sometimes be loaded with friends and family and that can provide an immediate bias.
Last night, as I was waiting for the show to begin, I noticed how many people in the audience knew each other and – from my limited eavesdropping – seemed to be theatre people. I never know whether that makes a tougher audience or an easier audience.
7 Important Things looks back at George Acheson’s life. He was born in 1950, became a hippie at 16 and thought he had found his true identity. When the movement fizzled his identity was lost. He seems to have spent the rest of his life looking for it.
In the program it says “…we look to the past in an attempt to reconcile his life, one that has been profoundly marked by the times.” Aren’t all of our lives marked by the times?
The play is written and performed by George Acheson and Nadia Ross. Ross is also the director. It’s made up of four timed interviews that alternate with short scenes re-enacting George’s life. The interviews seemed very natural, almost improvised. The scenes are acted.
Both players were miked which seemed strange in the beginning but it allowed for the distortion of their voices, Ross’ in particular. She was able to play Acheson’s father, a 7 year-old girl and an 18 year-old young woman. Another interesting use of technology was the projection of pictures and films from George’s life onto hand-held screens.
This is a play about ideas presented almost without emotion. I didn’t connect with it. I guess I need some emotion. I need a reason to care about the characters – in this case George.
I said earlier that the audience seemed to be made up of a lot of theatre people. They gave the show a standing ovation. I felt as if we had seen different plays.
- 7 Important Things is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave)
- Show times: Friday August 9, 6:30 pm, Saturday August 10, 9:00 pm, Monday August 12, 6:30 pm, Tuesday August 13, 4:00 pm, Wednesday August 14, 1:30 pm, Friday August 16, 1:30 pm, Saturday August 17 9:00 pm.
- All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online, by phone at 416-915-6747 and at the Lower Ossington Box Office (100A Ossington Avenue, first floor) Aug. 6-18 10AM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
- Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows
Photograph of George Acheson