I went to see the Alumni Theatre production of Perfect Pie, directed by Paul Hardy. Judith Thompson has won two Governor General's Awards for her plays, plus a handful of other writing prizes for stage and radio.
As we were being seated, Andy Fraser who plays Patsy, made a pie on stage. Her careful gestures helped get us into the mood of the piece. I also liked the use of shim-covered structures which were rotated and either lit to reveal the interior or kept dark to block our view. Sometimes it's the low-budget shows that I like best. The emphasis is on acting in an intimate space, a feeling which is hard to create at a big musical or the opera.
The subject matter, too, demanded sensitive treatment. Patsy, a farmer, sends a tape inviting her one-time best friend Francesca, to visit her. Over the course of this visit, the women revisit their intense friendship. Francesca, who was christened Marie, ran away from her abusive parents and the youth of the town who harassed her for being poor, Catholic and unsubmissive.
The flashbacks, which inform and dramatize the women's reminiscences, are acted out by Young Patsy and Marie.
In the culminating moment, both women relive a train accident that transformed them forever. Their roles reverse and evolve as they exchange intimacies with an intensity day-to-day friends never experience. Both women know this visit is the first and last, but it changes them forever.
This memorable play premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in 2000 and deserves to be produced often.
Labels: Alumnae Theatre, Theatre