Firewall by Target Theatre at Belfry Festival SPARK Festival 2014. A review.

Firewall by Target Theatre at Belfry Festival SPARK Festival 2014. A review.

My father, who would have been 93 this year, had an email address before I did.  I was on Twitter before either of my two sons (in their twenties) and I’ll be 60 this year.  My point, and more importantly, the point of Target Theatre’s Firewall, currently at the Belfry Theatre’s SPARK Festival (until March 23rd)—technology knows no age-barrier.

People’s desire to connect is universal and ageless.

Target 1Tony Cain, Susan Wilkey and Madeleine Mills in Firewall by Target Theatre. Photo: Peter Pokorny

Target Theatre was founded in 1986 as a seniors’ theatre company with the goal of using theatre to provide a voice for the concerns of seniors.  Over the years, their productions have dealt with issues of elder abuse, dementia, scams, and safe driving (to mention a few).

They decided to apply to the Belfry Theatre’s Incubator project—a two-year process that provides support and mentorship to theatre companies wishing to explore new work, practices and territory.  A performance run at the SPARK Festival is included.

Since September 2012 these senior thespians have been working with Geoffrey Ewert and other Belfry staff to devise Firewall in a process of collective creation.

Using multi-media elements such as projections and video, Firewall addresses the issues of seniors, technology and isolation.

The play begins with reminiscence and metaphor—incidents of fire are related and played out by Jane Krieger, Peter McNab and Madeleine Mills, and range from the rolling wheat fields of the prairies to life in London under the blitz—then segues to the blue fire of technology and the internet.

Tony Cain represents the future and the possibilities of connection as he tries, unsuccessfully, to win over Krieger’s most reluctant character—a confirmed techno-phobe.

Susan Wilkey, Lou-Ann Edgar and Gary Johnson all join in with positive examples of how technology has influenced and improved their lives, providing examples as they organize a celebration, Skype-ing from afar to pull it all together.

Firewall is comprised of vignettes and skits; the overall message aims at gentle prodding through humour. Behaviours are exaggerated for maximum effect—one incident at a check-out counter where Wilkey (the check-out clerk) mimes Krieger paying (gasp!) cash had us all smiling. The punishment however was no laughing matter as Krieger finds herself tried and sentenced to “rehabilitation”, forced to interact with a wall of faces (à la Hollywood Squares) all happily extolling the virtues of going online.

Firewall makes good points about people who chose to connect—no matter what method they use—and people who isolate themselves, or live in the past.  It’s a message that is relevant no matter how old you are.

Thanks to Target Theatre for taking up the challenge of the Incubator process.  I look forward to seeing how Firewall progresses and evolves.

Firewall by Target Theatre (a Belfry Theatre Incubator Project)
Belfry Theatre SPARK Festival 2014
March 19-23, 2014
Tickets $20 through the Belfry Box Office

Written by: Tony Cain, Bill Beer, Irene Beer, June Boston, Bill Eastman, Lou-Ann Edgar, Gary Johnson, Jane Krieger, Peter McNab, Pam Miller, Madeleine Mills and Susan Wilkey.

Performed by: Tony Cain, Lou-Ann Edgar, Gary Johnson, Jane Krieger, Peter McNab, Madeleine Mills and Susan Wilkey

Facilitated by Geoffrey Ewert
Apprentice Stage Manager Sandra Dagg

About @lacouvee

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