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UVic production of 7 Stories features original 23 foot tall set

Morris Panych play takes place on seventh storey, starts March 14 at Phoenix Theatre
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A UVic production of 7 Stories will run from March 14-23 at the Phoenix Theatre. (Courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre)

A University of Victoria production of contemporary classic 7 Stories will feature the play’s original 23-foot tall building set design.

One of Canadian playwright Morris Panych’s most celebrated major plays, the existential comedy takes place on a seventh storey window ledge where a man is in the midst of an emotional crisis.

To honour the play’s 30th anniversary, UVic theatre professor and director Fran Gebhard will use the original set design for the production.

The over 23-foot tall set will shoot up from below the stage and end in a sky of clouds.

The set “is iconic and adds an important layer to the meaning of the play,” said Gebhard, pointing to original set designer Ken MacDonald and his inspiration, artist René Magritte. “I really couldn’t see the play with any other design.”

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The Phoenix Theatre says 7 Stories is a “quick-witted, fast-paced comedy” that “philosophizes about life and death, right up to its existential conclusion.”

“It’s an important play for our students to study,” said Gebhard, who regularly includes 7 Stories in her curriculum. “I want people to look at this play, see themselves in these characters and understand that it is OK to laugh at ourselves.”

Playwright Morris Paynch’s plays have been performed across the country and include: Benevolence, The Ends of the Earth, The Trespassers and more. His plays are known to explore the meaning of life through philosophy, humour and themes of good and evil.

The play runs at the Phoenix Theatre from March 14-23. Adult tickets are $26, seniors $21 and students $16. Tickets can be purchased at the Phoenix box office or by phone at 250-721-8000.

The public is invited to a free pre-show lecture on Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m. where playwright and writing instructor Mark Leiren-Young will discuss the history and significance of 7 Stories.

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