Speaking in Code

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a cryptogram as “a communication in cipher or code.” For actor Jenny Young, it’s an apt way to describe the David Mamet play of the same name that she’s been rehearsing.

Deciphering

Mamet’s Cryptogram

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a cryptogram as “a communication in cipher or code.” For actor Jenny Young, it’s an apt way to describe the David Mamet play of the same name that she’s been rehearsing.

“We keep referring to the script as a cryptogram,” says Young, one of three actors in the Belfry’s production. The Cryptogram is set in 1959 and deals with a mother and son abandoned by the man of the house on the eve of a father-son camping trip.

“[Mamet] doesn’t let his characters really say what they’re meaning,” says Young, who plays the deserted wife, Donny. “They speak in very short sentences most of the time, so they’re always cutting each other off. You have to follow their train of thought.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Mamet is known for his particular punctuation and tricky scripts. “Anyone who knows anything about David Mamet knows you follow [his] script, just do what the script says and don’t add anything,” says Young.

Thrown into this heady mix is a pre-teen actor making his stage debut: Mitch H. Kummen, who played the young Don Cherry in CBC’s TV mini-series on the Canadian hockey commentator, is playing the son, John.

“He’s doing a great job,” says Young. “He’s a very, very smart kid, but as with any 11-year-old who’s that smart and that easy with adults, he also has so much going on in his head.”

Rounding out the three-hander is Vincent Gale as Del, a close family friend who attempts to comfort John and Donny in the wake of their abandonment. “They’re all just misunderstood and it’s really heartbreaking,” Young says of the characters. “They’ve created patterns in their life, because they’re lonely, that aren’t necessarily healthy.”

Young describes Donny as a product of her time who is trying to cope with societal restraints put on her post-marriage. “I think her and Del and her husband Robert all had an incredible life before the war,” she says. “She’s a very open and creative mind, but that freedom is being taken away from her.”

An interesting role to be taking on, given Young is currently pregnant with her first child. But acclaimed Canadian director, actor and writer Daniel MacIvor — who stepped in to direct the play after the tragic and sudden passing of Gina Wilkinson in December — is being careful to conceal the pregnancy during the play’s run.

“He’s very worried about people noticing the pregnancy. He doesn’t want the pregnancy to be seen because it adds a weight on the production that shouldn’t be there,” says Young.

Indeed, the script seems weighty enough as it is. M

Just Posted

Rat Pack back in Sidney

Tribute group re-ignites the magic of a Vegas gone by

THE FIERY FLAMENCO: Annual festival set to heat up Victoria

Performances free and ticketed, plus workshops, highlight celebration of the dance

Emily Carr String Quartet set for summer concert in Sooke

Sooke Harbour House concert on July 29

31st annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In promises something for every taste in art, food

Moss Street from Fort to Dallas will be covered, with artists, vendors, and attendees this July 21

MusicFest weekend in the Comox Valley ‘fantastic’

Walk Off the Earth, other acts liven up annual music festival in Comox Valley

Big-time racing on tap in Langford this month

Western Speedway the place to be for a roaring good time in summer

Black Press videographer to direct full-length feature, wins Telefilm grant worth $125,000

Arnold Lim to expand story of All-In Madonna with writer Susie Winters, producer Ana de Lara

Five fun things to do this weekend

From a paint in to festivals, there are lots of fun events taking place this weekend

Saanich Fair: An idea is born

The attaining of a 150th year anniversary is a notable event in… Continue reading

Reviews are in for B.C.-shot ‘Skyscraper’ action movie

City’s film liaison recalls four days of filming at city hall last fall, with Dwayne Johnson on set

B.C. singer up against Shania Twain for Canadian country music award

Madeline Merlo and Shania Twain are two of five nominees for female artist of the year.

Nicolas Cage films in B.C. town

Hollywood actor filming A Score to Settle in North Okanagan

Canadian actress Sandra Oh makes Emmys history with ‘Killing Eve’ nomination

Oh made history as the first Asian woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award for lead actress in a drama series.

Most Read