Reading the description of this play about a 500 years old bear, set in the Canadian Arctic, with characters from Franklin to a group of party going socialites, and a cast drawn from among the Stratford regulars and from actors based in Iqaluit and even Greenland, it was hard to grasp what we were going to see.
But playwright Colleen Murphy, director Reneltta Erluk and the talented cast brought it all together brilliantly. this play was commissioned by the Stratford Festival and had its world premiere last week. Let’s hope it travels far and wide.
All of the performances were good, as one expects from the Stratford Festival. But I do have to mention Randy Hughson (Sir John Franklin) and Juan Chioran (Oliver Moorshead and Rivera) who were particularly notable. And we looked for Johnny Issaluk, who played Nukilik and Totalik, because we have been watching him work out at the YMCA all summer. It was great to watch him on stage as well.
One cannot write about this play without mentioning the Bears. Animated puppets have never seemed as real since the War Horse.