Ottawa Theatre Review: I, Claudia

Well, a little late on this review. My apologies up-front to those concerned. The change in the weather can sometimes get to a person, and that was the case with me. Fortunately, this is a long-enough run for you to still get out there and see this show. And if you haven’t gone to see the Great Canadian Theatre Company in their new home in the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, you should. It’s a wonderful space for the GCTC, and a huge congratulations to them and ther supporters for all of their fundraising efforts to secure the theatre. And now, without further ado . . .

“I, Claudia” by Kristen Thomson
Produced by Crow’s Theatre
Directed by Chris Abraham
Starring Liisa Repo-Martell

Like many of my friends and family, I am a child of divorce. In my case, I was about five, and my parents lived on opposite ends of the country. I lived with my mom, and never heard from my dad. And until my teenage years when my mom re-married, I never really had a father figure in my life at all. That kind of background stays with you for the rest of your life. And it affects so many of us. But how often do you see this explored in the arts? How often do we really talk about the effect of divorce?

“I, Claudia” takes a look at divorce through the eyes of a young girl (twelve and three-quarters). Through the use of masks, she is joined by a few other characters in her life who provide insight and tell a different side to Claudia’s story. And even though her’s was a different path than mine, I found many truths in this play. I thought it was well done for the most part, and I do recommend it.

I must admit to finding the ending a little difficult to follow, but that may have been due to the effects of the fog machine that seemed to run for the entire show and the use of the strobe light. I appreciated the mood that both of these created, but as an audience member, for me it just went a little too far. I certainly don’t think that should stop anyone from seeing this wonderful production, but maybe just be a little warned.

Overall, I think this is a strong start to what looks like will be an interesting season for the GCTC. Entitled “Stages”, the six plays for 2008-2009 are set to explore six stages of life. There will also be art showcased at the theatre to reflect the theme or nature of each stage. You can find out more information at the GCTC website: www.gctc.ca

“I, Claudia” runs between now and September 28.
Regular GCTC performance times: Tuesdays-Fridays 8pm, Saturdays 4pm & 8:30pm, Sundays 2pm
Great Canadian Theatre Company
Irving greenberg Theatre
1233 Wellington Street West (at Holland Avenue)
University of Ottawa Theatre Building
Tickets – prices vary, so check out the website.

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