Theatre Review: Azuka Theatre, “Take My Money!”
Every now and then, a piece of theatre comes along that reminds you of the beauty of the artform. The beauty of being a in a room with a group of humans that will never be together again, to witness art that, hopefully, fulfills you and leaves you a slightly better person than you were before you arrived. Azuka Theatre’s production of The Gap is just that. One that, as an audience member, I feel lucky to have been a part of.
Emma Goidel’s writing is sharp, wide ranged, and deeply layered, much like the characters she has created. The script builds on itself over and over again, slowly letting you in and continually justifying the earlier moments. Rebecca Wright’s direction is smart, heartfelt and visually gratifying.
We follow Lee, played by Maggie Johnson, a guarded Performance Artist desperate to use art to be able to feel and connect to family and loved ones. Johnson’s gripping portrayal of Lee is immensely grounded and captivating throughout. Ciera Gardner starts strong, almost too strong, as the vulnerable “Nicole,” but it all makes sense when Gardner soars as Nina, Lee’s eager student turned collaborator, by the 3rd scene. Masha Tsimring’s Lighting design beautifully transforms Apollo Mark Weaver’s subtle, but versatile set; creating mood and tone that perfectly complements moment to moment. The only annoyance is the aluminum clamp lights that are clumsy at times, but somewhat clever story telling devices at others. Jorge Cousineau’s Projection was beautifully filmed.and executed. As it falls on the set, you’re unsure of where each projection begins and ends while it mimics the mind’s ability, or inability, to recall memories. Much like a faded memory, it’s stunning and perfectly confusing. Backing it all is a stunning sound design by Michael Kiley. Like the script, it is ominous at times and subtly comedic at others. Jillian Keys does a great job with costumes and makes the hilarious choice to dress the lovable role of Rod (Jamie Maseda) in a wet suit for most of the show. Maseda’s performance is delightfully funny and perfectly complements Alice Yorke (Nicole) who is elegantly wacky until she is stoically vulnerable in the uncovering of Nicole’s life changing event.
Genevieve Perrier is transformative as the catch-all track, and ultimately the one who delivers the culminating moment of the show. Perrier’s gravitas is essential for the successful landing of The Gap’s message, and gosh does she stick the landing.
Azuka’s game changing Pay-What-You-Can approach to ticket sales opens its doors to those who need theatre most while simultaneously inspiring audience members to contribute more after the performance. You leave The Gap saying, “TAKE MY MONEY!”
A play about the important and therapeutic role the arts plays in a human’s life. A play that cements into your soul that theatre can change the way we think, feel, and treat those around us. A play that holds others accountable for their actions and fosters the impetus for change. A play that you only have two more chances to see. So, as the saying goes; RUN, don’t walk, to Azuka’s The GAP.
Azuka Theatre presents the World Premiere of The Gap
By Emma Goidel, Directed by Rebecca Wright
November 1 – 19, 2017
Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake
All images by Johanna Austin/AustinArt.org
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