Of the Causes of Wonderful Things
A web of lights joined together by inter-connected cords— standing or on desks, small floods on the floor, , miniature spots in glass cases—Of the Causes of Wonderful Things intrigues from the moment you step through the doors of the Intrepid Theatre Club and carefully navigate to your seat.
The set consists of small vignettes and carefully considered tableaux, as if one were looking at museum exhibits, circa 1950—from the red Bakelite telephone, to the old tube-style radio, and the music it plays.
There is an immediate sense of mystery, and un-ease, of being off-kilter and puzzled.
Esther Drury (Tayla Rubin) is perplexed. Her five nieces and nephews are missing—she knows she put them to bed, and now—where have they disappeared?
Rubin moves with great care and little explanation from scene to scene, re-creating various episodes and characters of this tense and intimate drama, manipulating objects, incorporating projections and puppetry—shadow and small doll-like creatures in glass cases—as well as handling all the lighting.
There’s a fantastical bent to some of the tales—children underground, reminiscent of Peter and his siblings in Pierre Burton’s The Secret Land of Og—that does nothing to remove the increasing level of dread.
Rubin is accomplished, navigating transitions between scenes and people easily—camping it up for the camera as the vamp, steadfast in her determination as Esther, dogged as the detective assigned to the case, jovial as the Town Hall MC, stoic as the children.
Of the Causes of Wonderful Things is gripping and beautifully crafted in all its DIY aesthetic. Fans of multiple overlapping storylines and characters will be riveted as they attempt to solve the riddles in this tragedy. The conclusion lurches out of the dark in all its horror, to leave us—bereft, and somehow, personally implicated in our inability to keep five small people safe.
Thursday May 22, 8:00 * (pay what you can)
Friday May 23, 6:00
Sunday May 25, 4:00
Too Close to the Sun (Montreal/Australia)
Co-devised and performed by Tayla Rubin
Co-devised and directed by Nick James
65 minutes. multidisciplinary
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ticket to Of the Causes of Wonderful Things.