Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Children of God at the Citadel in Edmonton

Image of the cast from Windspeaker

I attended this amazing show with friends. With all the elements of a musical, it's far from the usual light-hearted entertainment we associate with the genre. Instead, playwright and Director Corey Payette reveals a new approach to reconciliation and healing. The evening ended with a literal coming together.

Audience members who were not holding hands in a long chain were on their feet in the centre of the theatre. As we chanted together with the cast, I was far from the only one with tears on my cheeks. The story is harshly intense, and its relentless unfolding has an allegorical inevitability. Yet the staging of the worst scenes is done with sensitivity, and the ending brings hope and upliftment.

For me, Dillan Chiblow, who played Tommy, was the stand-out actor. By tossing off of a school cap and jacket, he transformed himself from an endearingly optimistic and mischievous kid into the troubled young man his early suffering presaged. The scenes between him and his guilt and grief-ridden mother, ably played by noted musician Sandy Scofield, felt poignant and utterly real.

The theatre program contains Ry Moran's five questions for people who want to be involved in reconciliation (aired on CBC in October 2017 by Rosanna Deerchild). After seeing this remarkable show, anyone who would have previously answered no to the question "Have I ever participated in ceremony?" can respond with a resounding yes.

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