Phoenix Theatre: BackstagePASS
|Spring 2019 • Act 12 Scene 6|
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The Phoenix's theatre's production of 7 Stories has been getting wonderful reviews from local media and an incredible response from audiences — so much so that it is being HELD OVER for an extra performance on Sunday, March 24 at 2pm. If you haven't seen Morris Panych's contemporary classic comedy yet, reviewers below are saying this is the version to see!
Last week's Friday lecture now online
In the Press: Highlights & Media Round-Up
"... 7 Stories is simple in premise, but the sharp-witted dialogue and philosophical overtones require a certain prowess to execute, and the Phoenix Theatre peaks with its latest staging.
Before the production even begins, the grandeur of the set is enough to stir you. Director Fran Gebhard uses Ken MacDonald’s original set design of a 23-foot tall apartment building which extends from below the stage to the sky, so to speak, as the backdrop is a brilliant blue overlaid with heavy white clouds inspired by the surrealist artist, René Magritte.
Written 30 years ago, Panych’s dark comedy is as relevant today, although discussions around mental health have evolved. A play about a man contemplating suicide benefits from a lighter but sincere approach, and the risible moments soften the tone. The man’s interactions on the building’s ledge provide him—and us, by propinquity—with new perspectives about the meaning of life, and his conclusive exchange with an elderly seer is particularly enlightened.
The scenes are brief... A tribute to UVic’s Theatre program, the cast delivers Panych’s near-perfect dialogue well and don’t make the excitable misstep of rushing through it—they linger in the comedic beats, playing to the audience’s interest."
"... there’s a lot to like in Morris Panych’s kooky Canadian comedy classic, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary. For one, there’s the amazing set; for another, there’s an amazing performance by student Rahat Saini, who pretty much steals the show with her delightful take on a hundred-year-old South Asian woman...
... this satire still holds up three decades on; indeed, some of the dialogue seems surprisingly current, given that it was written pre-social media. Brightly directed by Fran Gebhard, this is the fenestrial equivalent of a slamming-doors comedy: windows pop up and down while the cast of 12 interact with the Man on the ledge...
... a great chance to see the show that established Panych as a force to be reckoned with in Canadian theatre.... come for the set—an ode not only to the original production but also to René Magritte’s surrealist art... very little to argue about in this gorgeously presented production."
"Brought back for its 30-year anniversary, the Phoenix Theatre’s production of 7 Stories not only lives up to the legacy, but puts on a great performance in their own right. The black comedy satire is packed with a lot of laughs in between the philosophizing about the meaning of life and death from seven different perspectives.
The world of 7 Stories feels like it takes place across time... choices [that] simply add to the strange logic and surrealist tone of the play, especially at the end. Even when things get serious, there’s a playful wink and nudge that leaves both a fun and thoughtful mood.
The actors, meanwhile, successfully manage in towing the line between comedy and solemness, striking that perfect balance for dark comedy that Morris Panych is known for. ...even the smallest role is packed with strong characterization and a whole lot of laughs. By the end, it’s hard to pick a favourite amongst the cast."
"... 7 Stories hits all of the right spots. I had heard it was funny, and as it was written 30 years ago, it’s full of the wicked jokes that today’s political correctness backs away from. That doesn’t mean it is offensive—not at all, actually. It’s gutsy and willing to take risks, and it smiles through them.
7 Stories takes place, yes, seven stories up, in one of the most jaw-dropping sets I have ever seen. Designed by award-winning set designer Ken MacDonald, the set is a mixture of interactive architecture and brilliant lighting.
Stories’ ledge-teetering protagonist... The Man... Lyle Hendriks...plays his part with conviction; I felt the emotions he was feeling and wanted to tell him it will all be okay.
Aidan Guerreiro steps into the shoes of the under-slept and volatile psychiatrist, and Tallas Munro and Taryn Yoneda play Rodney and Charlotte, the couple everyone hates, thriving on their own drama of brutal fighting and passionate make-ups. Rahat Saini...is cast as the elderly seer Lillian, who is the last person The Man meets in his adventure. She shines with humour and compassion, playing her role with as much of an impact as The Man’s final decision.
With its amazing set, marvelous actors, and evocative story that speaks so clearly to the human condition, 7 Stories is an experience that will stay with you for a very long time."
Other media stories and videos:
Director Fran Gebhard
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Thank you to the Phoenix Theatre's many individual donors and corporate sponsors for their support of our programs and talented students!
Thanks also to our supporters over the past year from the Cadboro Bay Village Business Association including: For Good Measure, Pepper's Foods, Smugglers' Cove Pub, Caddy Bay Liquor Store, and Heart Pharmacy.
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