By Rita Steinberg
A book is able to engage the reader with its character development and detail while evoking feelings of grief and joy that are difficult to emulate on stage. But the cast of The Girls Who Saw Everything did exactly that. With natural acting, they brought a complex and emotion filled novel to life and managed to achieve intimacy with the audience.
The novel by Sean Dixon explores a parallel between two different stories that take place in different decades. Reality meets fiction when an ancient story of Gilgamesh is acted out by the contemporary Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women’s Book Club who strives to understand and interpret literary novels by bringing them to life. In the process of going back in time, the members of the Book Club realize that an ancient story has the power to change their fates and test their relationships with the living as well as the dead. Ryerson’s talented cast used different modes of performance such as soliloquy and song which engaged the audience.
There was a unique and electric chemistry between the actors that brought the stage to life. The actors embodied interesting interpretations of the characters and effectively developed their own personalities throughout. The acrobatic body movements of Runner (played by Jasmine Chen) kept you alert and Priya (played by Jemima Sutherland) stole the stage with her beautiful singing voice.
The set design was simple but fitting for the production. Varied levels of depth provided an interesting backdrop but did not upstage the performers. The gentle beat of the drum and symbols set the atmosphere for the unfolding of the story of Gligamesh. Costume design was unique to each character and the leopard print, varied colours, and bohemian style reflected the diversity of the characters.
The Girls Who Saw Everything is a success that makes the audience both chuckle and tear up. Apart from all else, the sex scenes were raw and uncensored adding realism to the story while sizzling up the stage. Nicholas Dipchand, who played a very eclectic character Heidi, concluded his debut in the play within a play by saying, “I just wanted to live in my skin”. This performance did exactly that; it made the audience live and experience the touching story of the members of the Lacuna Cabal Book Club.
Photo by: Joseph Hammond
Ruth Madoc Jones
Cast (Student: Actor)
Kanika Ambrose: Romy Childerhouse
Jasmine Chen: Runner Coghill
Nicholas Dipchand: Heidi
Katerina Georgieva: Ana Lighter
Nicholas Hamilon: Gerard Darger, John, Nurse, Musician
Edward Hillier: Aline Irwin, Tugboat Captain
Andrew Petker: Dumuzi
Nina Pikula: Missy Bean
Philippe Poirier: Neil Coghill
Jemima Sutherland: Priya Underhill
Jessica Way: Emily R. O’Connor