by Paula Citron
Robert Chafe’s “Tempting Providence” is one of those plays which conjures up words like “admirable” and “worthy”. The play was commissioned by Corner Brook-based Theatre Newfoundland Labrador in 2002.
The subject matter is the remarkable real life nurse Myra Grimsley Bennett who left England in 1921 to come to the isolated outports of the Great Northern Peninsula where she was midwife, doctor, dentist and veterinarian.
Chafe’s heightened, poetic language includes inner monologues recited by Bennett, alternating with a narrative told by Angus Bennett, her future husband. Two other actors play all the character and a Greek chorus.
Director Jillian Keiley sets her signature immediately. The set comprises of a table, a table cloth, and four chairs. In a series of imaginative reconfigurations, these six objects are transformed into all the props.
The second act is infinitely better than the first when the play finally comes into its own because Chafe injects dramatic action.
“Tempting Providence” continues until Apr. 22.
From Factory Theatre Mainspace, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.