Elora Gorge (The Room) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Walking into Elora Gorge, my first SummerWorks show this year, I’m not sure what was higher; my expectations or the temperature in the sweltering Theatre Centre. There has been a bit of buzz around this show and for good reason. It features some remarkable talent both on and off the stage. The Room has created a piece that feels ethereal and tricky. The staging is beautifully creative, the acting is great, and Christopher Stanton’s writing is a waterfall stream of conscious from the voices that make up the small town of Elora. After this show, you’ll probably not think of Elora the same way again!

This reference will date me, but here goes. If you were a fan of Twin Peaks, you’ll likely be a fan of this show. Hell, if you are fan of David Lynch at all you will likely be a fan of this show.

The show is, at its heart, a mystery. A body is found in the forest, naked and drowned. Those seem to be the facts that everyone in the town agrees on – from the police puzzled by the investigation, to the school teacher who has become romantically obsessed with the body, to Molly; the girl with a past who arrives back in town on the same day.

This show builds the mystery. It builds and builds and builds. Molly’s story, her lost brother, wolf bones, strange birds, the towns near zealot obsession with the stranger (at one point the towns people join in a chorus of “He came to leave us”). It is all very wraithlike and mystifying and as an audience member I felt quite ready to be let in on the town’s secret. I left the theatre with even more questions.

I felt a tinge of that “what did I miss? Cause I don’t get it”. After some discussion with other audience members I realized I wasn’t alone. So it’s a cool choice – you are left to draw your own connections with this piece. Ultimately this gorge left me surprisingly dry. Much like the body itself, this mystery took me to the middle of the forest and left me there.

That said, it is a fine piece of theatre. I was captivated by Janet Porter’s Molly, loved the sincerity of Carlos Gonzalez-Vio’s Kyle and thought Carlo’s Diaz’s Will was perfect. I have to say, checking to program to find these names, I just realized that one of the cast members is meant to play a secondary role which makes the show make a bit more sense to me. He looks exactly the same so it was something that confused a group of audience members that I spoke with afterwards. Even realizing this, I still am trying to figure out what this show was trying to say. I’m not sure, but because of it’s otherworldly beauty, it is a show that will stay with me for a while.

Details:

Elora Gorge plays at Theatre Centre

Saturday August 6th 5:00 PM
Monday August 8th 10:00 PM
Wednesday August 10th 5:00 PM
Saturday August 13th 7:30 PM
Sunday August 14th 12:00 PM

– All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows

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