Vol. 17 No. 46 • November 10 - 16, 2011 Hamilton - Niagara's Independent Voice - Online Edition
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For This Moment Alone



by TOM MACKAN
March 31 - April 6, 2011
There’s a whole lot of play in Marcia Kash’s For This Moment Alone and I recommend you get to your seats and settle back for a memorable evening. Detail is the operative in both the play and the production. You shouldn’t miss any of it. As in all really good stories you have to be drawn in from the opening lines, to be taken up and carried along, you have to know when you are in the hands of a story–teller with a story to tell who won’t let you down. In this Aquarius production you will know from the moment you see the pre–set of Patrick Clark’s 1948 Toronto upstairs flat, so evocative of its time, so complete in the minutiae of lives and living, that you’re in for an evening of rich, traditional, theatre.  Directed with confident assurance by Sarah Garton Stanley, assisted by Leora Morris, and with her eye on the pace and rhythm of the text, she guides her cast of seven gifted actors expertly. Superbly served by her set and costume designer Clark, Renee Brode’s warm and natural lighting, the effective sound and effects by Anna Maria Steger,  the whole in the masterful hands of Stage Manager Rob Middleton and ASM Sarah Miller, Ms. Stanley has done Marsha Kash proud.
    Tension and mystery mix with laughter and family warmth. Loyalty and betrayal, love and rejection, hope and despair, these are the elements that carry the power of the tale. Canada was coming into its maturity in the fragile ‘40s. Kash taps into our struggle as a nation emerging from the terrible and unspeakable atrocities of the war just ended, forcing innocent eyes to confront experiences from the belly of the beast. How can life go on with any sense of purpose or resolve in the knowledge of the horror that brought us to this place, we ask.  “Us” are the straggling remnants of the Goldfarbs, refugees from the Europe of the ‘30s. Joe has gathered his sister Bertha, his teen son Norman, and his young adult niece by marriage, Ruth, to make a family of sorts of what is left of them. He runs a grocery shop in Toronto and they all share the upstairs flat. Their neighbours and friends Sol and Ada, round out this tiny community.  Spending his spare financial resources in his continuing search for possible family survivors in the displaced persons camps of Europe, he finds his nephew Freddie, Ruth’s older brother, and the story opens with his expected arrival at Union Station to join them. Ruth is ecstatic in her anticipation of this reunion. And thus does this true and moving story move into a whole new gear. Let there not be a spoiler here, and let us say only that happiness is deferred as mystery and suspense arise, perceptions are challenged, and outcomes become maddeningly uncertain. As I said, story–telling at its best.
    Hardee T. Lineham in his Aquarius debut as Joe takes charge of the family with stunning clarity of voice and delicately measured emotion. It is a compassionate and wholly convincing performance. As Aunt Bertha, Tanja Jacobs brings a treasure chest of skill and experience, creating the strength that binds them all together, a compelling and real presence, with poise and pace, everything timed and delivered impeccably. They are well–supported in the roles of Sol (fully realized by Neil Foster) and Ada (played with comedic excellence by Maria Vacratsis). Tal Gottfried plays Ruth, the soul most tortured by the events given to disarm her sweet  expectations, and in the disarming, is most convincing. A gifted actor, she had me wondering how controlling the strength of her emotions from hysteria downward into more depth in the process might be worth exploring. Similarly, and in his scenes with her, actor Aaron Stern as her confused and angry cousin Norman, had to risk those limits, where he was otherwise touching and effective in his adolescent charm. Ian Lake transfixed us with his performance as Freddie, deeply focused and in the end, giving us “this moment alone” in a moving finale of heart wrenching exposition. Altogether an evening of excellent theatre.  V

FOR THIS MOMENT ALONE
by Marcia Kash.
Through April 10.
 @ Theatre Aquarius.
190 King William St., Hamilton.
theatreaquarius.org
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