Envision yourself settling in for a vivid story-telling session, and witnessing accounts that allow you to examine a character’s most intimate moments in time, peering behind a forbidden curtain into their personal lives through three different stories.
The Drama Studio Series show Closure does just that. Choosing to incorporate themes of forgiveness, redemption and retribution that are shared with audience members as the storytellers slowly unravel their tales before you. The show is personal, touching upon serious topics such as sexual assault, and the grieving process that accompanies loss, while also remaining relatable in that it invites one to seek courage and to contemplate one’s own closet skeletons.
Mr. Malikov’s Daughters details a tragic love story in which a doll-maker grapples with his wife’s mortality. Left alone as a single father, his denial and inability to endure pain is blatantly displayed as he infuses all the love he still carries for his wife into his dolls.
The story is inventive, and magical—the dolls coming to life in the dark secrecy of solitude, each with their own personality, and charm. The attributes of Malikov’s wife he most dearly cherished; creativity, sexuality, and her emotionality are exhibited within the characters of the dolls, keeping her memory alive in his eyes. While Malikov tries desperately to cling to his wife’s memory, his fragile relationship with his own daughter suffers. The play has a beautiful narrative with a unique exploration of the human psyche, whose protagonist Malikov, ultimately, discovers a new approach in which to find closure and restore relationships.
The second show Mo Chuisle is incredibly moving; it’s characters arriving at resolution by choosing to seek their own silver lining. The story examines the pain experienced by an innocent young victim as well as that of her perpetrator, uncommonly giving the villain a voice by traveling down the road that led him to become a domineering puppeteer. The story is one of strength and resilience, exemplifying the ability to remain an agent of one’s own life and exploring the wonderful relationship between mothers and daughters.
Written by the talented Devon Jackson, the third story The Milk Tusks illustrates the devastating effects of ivory poaching from the rare perspective of a baby elephant. The baby elephant’s understanding of suffering, succeeding her mother’s death, and the poacher’s crisis of conscience, are tinged with dark humor, allowing the story to unravel amusingly while enthralling the audience. The writing is brilliant, and the play is permeated with pleasingly unexpected moments, concluding with a kind of closure quite unlike the others.
Julie James, one of the show’s producers, believes Closure to be especially applicable within the Queen’s community. James says, “For many of us, we are entering an entirely new chapter in our lives. Whether it be a first year just entering university and leaving their life behind, or as a fourth year having to move on from the life we’ve made here. It’s all about finding our own kind of acceptance. It’s about growing up and finding a way to move on no matter what.”
The show Closure allows entrance into the moments in which we are most vulnerable and likely, most human. Each play demonstrates, in it’s own fashion, the strength that stems from this vulnerability, and that strength is what makes the stories worth telling.
See Closure at the Isabel Bader Centre running March 12th to March 14th.
Alexandra Watt, Online Contributor
Images: Akhil Dua