I could feel my chest increasingly tense up as I watched director, producer and writer Wendy Krekeler’s The Devil You Know at the SummerWorks Festival. The topic of incest is never easy to speak about, yet all the actors in this play did a courageous job in bringing this highly-sensitive subject to the forefront.
The play is based on a true story with firsthand accounts from Rachel’s experience with incest being written into the play. It wasn’t easy to watch. I felt uncomfortable from the moment the character who played Rachel went into a flashback scene where we were first introduced to her mom, younger sister and older brother – Lou. Lou forced his way into getting ‘quickies’ from Rachel, while Rachel fought hard to protect her little sister Lily.
As an audience member, I felt Rachel’s pain, shame, guilt and fear as she took us through her experience. I also felt her anger towards her perpetrator and her need to feel safe and loved, especially by her parents.
There were some stand out performances by Darla Biccum, Jonelle Gunderson and Wendy Krekeler. They took on a variety of different roles handling the role changes very well. I also applaud the younger actors in this play who committed to their roles, played them with sincerity and added in a great deal of emotion. Though the story was strong, I felt that there were a few minor gaps and would like to have seen more character development for Lily and also on Rachel’s relationship with her mom.
The Devil You Know is a powerful story on a topic many of us would generally hide from. I commend Wendy Krekeler for speaking up about this subject and using this play as an educational tool to inform audiences of what young people experience. It is a heavy topic, and may be hard to watch for some, but it is important, relevant and provides a lot of insight.
The Devil You Know plays at Scotiabank Studio Theatre (6 Noble Street)
Thursday August 7, 5:30pm
Friday August 8, 7:30pm
Sunday August 10, 1:00pm
All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only).
Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca
By phone by calling the Ticketwise Call Centre at 416-907-0468, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West) August 7th-17th from 10AM – 7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)