Sheldon Elter stars in Bears, the Belfry Theatre’s newest production, running through Feb. 24. Courtesy Belfry Theatre

Sheldon Elter stars in Bears, the Belfry Theatre’s newest production, running through Feb. 24. Courtesy Belfry Theatre

REVIEW: Bears mesmerizes at the Belfry

Theatrical environmental protest piece sends a clear and entertaining message: Sheila Martindale

By Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine reviewer

Bears was not around when I was teaching a course on the Protest Poem, but I could have used it. This Belfry Theatre production is one huge protest against the raping of the environment, and it is one of the most powerful shows I have seen in a long time.

Sheldon Elter plays Floyd, who has the main speaking role. He is a big fellow, but we don’t really see how big until he strips his coveralls off at the shoulders, and his muscles positively bulge, gleaming with sweat – this is also a physically strenuous role.

Tracey Nepinak, in the character of Mama, is a quiet and calm presence with a different kind of strength, an effective opposite to Floyd.

RELATED: Belfry play taps into writer’s feelings around his Indigenous heritage

The seven dancers who complete the cast are wonderfully fluid, transforming from bison into otters and many other creatures, as needed. They work together as a unit, calling out a few responses in precise diction. Amazing to watch!

Glanna Vacirca comes out of the dance team briefly as the She Grizzly, and she and Floyd do an effective posturing sequence of the mating bears. Mesmerizing!

I wish I did not have to comment so many times on the excessive use of the F—- word, but it really is overdone here – we get the message loud and clear without it, and it does not add any strength to this extremely cogent show. Matthew MacKenzie, a little editing of your text would have been useful.

One more tiny gripe here – if Michael Shamata and Ivan Habel look to continue parading a no-doubt worthy group of Indigenous folk out at the beginning of this show, give them microphones so we can hear what they are saying.

However, the play itself is never in danger of not being heard – and it is well worth seeing. If you are sick of hearing about pipelines, OK; but do go and hear and see this particular last word about the folly of polluting our planet.

Bears runs through Feb. 24 at the Belfry Theatre in Fernwood. You can find tickets online at belfry.bc.ca, or by calling 250-385-6815.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Live theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

Donna Jones, who was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, is the executive director of the documentary ‘Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence’. (Submitted)
Islander produces documentary offering hope to those with addictions

Donna Jones and husband Brent just released Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley led the effort to create a Vancouver Island poetry booklet in recognition of National Poetry Month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library publishes booklet for National Poetry Month

Collection features winners of ‘Poem in your Pocket’ contest

SENCOTEN language revitalizationist and filmmaker Renee Sampson’s short film, Bringing Our Language Back to LIfe, shows online during the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival, April 14-23. (Photo courtesy Wapikoni)
SENCOTEN language featured in short film created on Saanich Peninsula

Renee Sampson film highlights importance of passing on traditional languages to youth

The area surrounding the Chemainus Rotary Club’s bunker door is one of the new surfaces that will feature a mural. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Up to three new murals coming to Chemainus

Project will be coordinated between the Rotary Club and Festival of Murals Society

Jules Sherred, photographer and owner of Polaris Creative, is putting together an exhibit that combines two of his greatest passions: food and advocacy for those with disabilities. (Polaris Creative photo)
Kickstarter launches for fully accessible exhibit focused on food

Raising awareness has been Sherred’s life’s work.

Sooke artist Jessica Ruth Freedman is one of nine virtual in-residence artists who share the creative process, conduct webinars, write and offer sage advice with artsUNITE, a free online wayfinding platform for artists. (Contributed - Jessica Ruth Freedman)
Sooke artist joins artsUNITE, getting creative through pandemic

National program brings much-needed support to arts community

Most Read