Beware of marrying an older woman – she might be your mother! The chance of this happening is pretty slim, but in Nancy Huston’s play, Jocasta Regina,it actually seems logical.
The first act is spent with Jocasta and Oedipus, joint rulers of Thebes, marvelling at their good fortune in their marriage and family life; they are still very much in love, and their desire for one another is palpable. Jocasta (brilliantly played by Wendy Magahay) is beginning to deal with middle age, and bemoans the fact that she is losing some of her appeal. Her husband assures her that she is still desirable, that her body has lost none of its magnetism for him. Montgomery Bjornson, with his monumentally good looks, appears perfect in the part, and a little more voice volume and projection would have clinched it. Their daughters, Ismene and Antigone, sometimes share the stage with their parents; both Autumn Antonson and Amber Landry are competent in their roles as very different sisters.
Eudoxia – Jocasta’s old nanny and confidante — is a very sympathetic character, and is authentically portrayed by Geli Bartlett. A tad more help in the make-up department would have made her great age more believable. She and Jocasta hold some interesting conversations, in which some of the history behind this story is revealed.
In Act Two, Oedipus is troubled by a rumour that he is a ‘bastard,’ and this intensifies as the truth of his marriage slowly becomes clear. If the first act is mostly talk and not much action, this changes in a huge way toward the end of the performance. Jocasta’s passionate bid to save her marriage, includes some interesting and pertinent thoughts on the nature of real parenthood, and on the multi-faceted relationships between men and women.
Whereas original Greek tragedies include a ‘chorus’ of people who comment on the play in progress, this modern version has just one person; Catriona Black appears behind the stage’s projection screen or in the centre aisle, and has plenty to say in a sassy and somewhat high-handed fashion. Given the ripples set in motion by this ‘forbidden’ marriage, these asides are pretty a propos.
Theatre Inconnu, despite being around for almost forty years, may be one of Victoria’s best-kept secrets Seats prices are surprisingly low. Jocasta Regina runs at 1923 Fernwood Road until May 20, and includes matinees on May 6, 13 and 20.
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