reviewed by Paula Citron
Next Stage Festival 2009
Reesor by Erin Brandenburg and Lauren Taylor
Directed by Lauren Taylor and starring Andrew Penner, Gord Bolan, Dave McEathron and Brandenberg
Yichud/Seclusion by Julie Tepperman
Directed by Aaron Willis and starring Neil Naft, Linda Kash, Paul O’Sullivan, Michael Rubenfeld, Daniel Karasik, Adam Lazarus, Tepperman and Willis
At Factory Studio Theatre until Jan. 18
Two excellent plays at the Next Stage Festival are Reesor by Erin Brandenburg and Lauren Taylor, and Yichud/Seclusion by Julie Tepperman.
Reesor was a town in northern Ontario near Kapuskasing that no longer exists. It was settled by Mennonites from the Ukraine around 1913 who were escaping the Bolsheviks, and who thought they were being given farm land. The play Reesor, seen through the eyes of young Anna, is a poiganant memorial to that struggle. A trio of men provide sound effects on hand made instruments.
Yichud/Seclusion is set in the ultra orthodox Jewish Hassidic community. The Yichud Room is where the bride and groom spend a brief time alone after their wedding ceremony and before the reception. It is their first time without chaperones. The Yichud ends the play, but before that we witness troubling scenes between the bride’s parents and the groom’s male relatives.
Reesor and Yichud continue at Factory Studio Theatre until Jan. 18. They are both moving and funny.