Dying City by Christopher Shinn
Caldera Theatre Company, 2016
Directed and designed by Marc Beaudin
Director’s Note from the program:
For us at the CTC, theatre as an artform doesn’t happen on the stage or in the actors’ imaginations. Rather it exists in the moment of communication between us and you. In the connection between actor and audience – the two coming together to create the reality of a moment, art happens. Television has viewers, sports events have spectators, but the theatre has participants. By choosing to accept our offer to come together in a certain place and time, to add your imaginations, memories, emotions and dreams to the cauldron, together we brew something magical, rare and beautiful: Truth.
In this play, the truth of these characters’ lives is evasive. It flashes in unexpected places, it fails to reside where we expect it to, it slips from our grasp when we most think we have hold of it. Mostly, it swims deep below the surface of what is spoken.
Kelly’s truth collides with that of Peter, her deceased husband’s twin. In flashback scenes, it’s Kelly and Craig’s truths that collide. All these truths are at odds with those of unseen (but heavily felt) parents, lovers, co-workers and patients – as well as the great (un)truth of the Iraq War.
But there is another truth at play here: the truth of being fully aware, in the moment. That’s what we seek, with your help, to create. What we find in that moment might be painful, it might be funny or difficult or confusing or upsetting or inspiring – but this is why we have theatre. To ask questions that may confound us, to explore the darkness because, paradoxically, that’s where the light is to be found. As Socrates reminds us, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
Thank you for joining in our examination and for making the life of this moment worth the living.
A note on the set design:
The world of these characters, defined by the floor rug and the lighting, hovers within the void. Beyond Kelly’s apartment is darkness: the dark unknown of war, failed love, the past, the future – the door to the outside world. Memories, hopes and fears emerge from the void and return to it. Kelly and Peter are surrounded by it, compelled by it, but powerless against it. Craig is both of it and not of it. The only thing on the set that rests in the void but connects into the apartment is the television – offering a relationship to the world beyond the void. But is it a true offer, or just another lie? Is it connection or anethesia?
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