The Cry Pitch Carrolls
The Western Canadian premiere of The Cry Pitch Carrolls is presented by the Performance works theatre on Granville Island in Vancouver. The Cry Pitch Carrolls is a Proximity Lab production written by playwright Ruth Margraff. Performances are scheduled from December 8 until December 18. A&E's Nick Pannu reviews the show.
The Cry Pitch Carrolls articulates the plight and suffering of marginalized and estranged characters. Certain characters are sustained by their faith while others embrace it as their saving grace from which to liberate themselves. Dialogue meets depth in scenes where vocal Operatics are used as a means to describe certain entities such as the New Testament and coping with prolonged circumstances such as isolation and grieving.
The setting is Christmas in a small town of widows in an isolated region of Michigan. A woman returns to her hometown claiming that her grown child is the son of God. Out on her luck and lacking basic essentials such as shelter and clothing, the women attempts to alleviate her misery through nostalgic accounts of when she was a child growing up in that town. She attempts to restore the grace she had as a child. The woman is portrayed as indifferent, not necessarily due to her marginalization, but her overbearing faith which others see as a mere scheme to lure coinage from vain people within the community.
The theme is not explicit. Christmas is the setting but does not define the entire play; rather it facilitates a means to examine faith when it is addressed by everyone on the birthday of Christ. Moreover, the script is strategic, not only does it attempt to swerve the audience, but the way paradigms are initiated by unexpected characters is refreshing. The widows vehemently attack the faith of the estranged women, but bestow divinity on a small poodle. As well, the young man claimed to be the son of Christ attempts to subjugate everyone towards a state of realism. Initially he is tentative, especially when he realizes his mother has nothing else to her sustain herself with but her faith. His attempts are futile because the widows, like his mother, decide that accepting faith is the only means to attaining salvation.
Strapped in loincloth throughout the entire play Paul Ternes, who plays Small Christus, is focused and immersed in his character. His emotions, gestures and singing genuinely convey the despair and entrapment that Small Christus has had bestowed upon him. As well as candid revelations about life and suffering the three widows appropriate scenes with humor adding more spice to the production. Having performed in contemporary opera, Carol Sawyer is a stand out during the chorus scenes.