THEATRE REVIEW: Communion @ the Roxy Theatre

Written by Daniel MacIvor, Communion's construction and dialogue is wonderfully philosophical, emotional, and challenging. MacIvor asks questions without forcing answers on the audience. He asks us to think about how our beliefs about the world operate across social spaces that aren’t necessarily defined by any shared beliefs; a client and her therapist, a mother and a daughter. MacIvor ponders how we reckon with our failures, and what it means to make sense of our pasts within fraught relationships. This play leads the audience one worry and one question at a time to face the existential realization that it is up to us how we render our experiences meaningful.

Communion is a meditation on the role of psychotherapy in contemporary culture. It asks us to reflect on the role that confession plays in our self-understanding, while critiquing the impersonal distance that a therapist must assume between herself and her client. This inner turmoil is seamlessly portrayed by Kate Ryan, the therapist, who as the therapist awakens her own doubt about the profession while understanding the healing that it can produce. Through this interrogation, the play serves to highlight social breakdown and the ways in which people struggle to find emotional peace and community within both secular and Christian worldviews. MacIvor treats his evangelical Christian character tenderly, showing the very complicated ways in which people become enmeshed within religions, therefore troubling a facile understanding of religious experience.

This play is also a stark analysis of the ways in which a mother and daughter can have a fundamentally vexed relationship, even though, and perhaps because of, their blatantly similar characters. We watch the mother and daughter learn what it means to love across distances — physical, emotional, and spiritual expanses separate these two even though their struggle for recognition unites them. As mother and daughter, Natascha Girgis and Sarah Sharkey, are utterly convincing — the audience can feel the weight of the past that ruptures their ability to love each other deeply.

Girgis’ performace in this play is simultaneously chilling and joyous. We see her wear the hairshirt of her past with acceptance and determination to move forward and face her own death as she struggles to find what communion means to her. Marianne Copithorne’s direction is nearly a second script intersecting the rich communication of body language to further animate a lively and precise theatre experience.


5 out of 5 Stars



Communion is presented by the Theatre Network and is playing at the Roxy theatre until February 20th, 2011.

more in Theatre Review     |     posted Feb 7th, 2011 at 12:34pm     

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