The Arts

Blyth Festival 2008 – Marcia Johnson’s Courting Johanna

Blyth Festival 2008 – Marcia Johnson’s Courting Johanna featured image

Paula Citron
Courting Johanna
Blyth Festival
Written by Marcia Johnson, based on an Alice Munro short story
Directed by Kate Lynch
Starring Lisa Norton, Tova Smith, Catherine Fitch, Gil Garratt and John Dolan
At Blyth Memorial Hall until Sept. 6

Marcia Johnson’s Courting Johanna, her theatrical adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is a good play. Some people might have difficulty filling in the blanks, but I like it when my imagination is stirred.

The story is about a mean prank. Two teenagers write a letter to a housekeeper supposedly from one of their fathers about romantic feelings which has far-reaching consequences. Director Kate Lynch has provided a plethora of small details to give us all the information we need to make logical conclusions.

The acting is strong. Lisa Norton as the frivolous Sabitha and Tova Smith as the brainy Edith capture both the worst and the best of teenagers. Catherine Fitch as the feisty housekeeper Johanna is memorable, and no one has ever portrayed physical illness more graphically than Gil Garratt as Ken. John Dolan is always good doing dithery old men.

Courting Johanna continues at the Blyth Festival’s Blyth Memorial Hall until Sept. 6.

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