An orphaned little girl with no chance of growing up normal anyway names herself "Beaver" in the play of the same name about a chilly family in the frozen north.
By JOSHUA TANZER
"Let me tell you about the Jerseys," says Sima Jersey (Naomi Lynn) by way of introduction. "There are three of them a spinster, a slut and a suicide."
The two surviving sisters are gathered at the home of the spinster sister, Nora, after the funeral for the suicide sister, Rose. They're with their mother Edna (Judy Kranz) and the dead woman's 12-year-old daughter, Bea . . . wait a minute, they've forgotten Beatrice! She's still at the graveyard, and since this is rural Ontario and it's 40-below, she could be dead by now.
Luckily, Beatrice (Kristen Cerelli) is saved and she goes to live with
. . . well, which sister would you choose? (The unemployed
alcoholic father is out of the question.) They choose the spinster,
Nora (Jackie Payne), whose parenting skills are in line with her chilly
nature. "Welcome to 44 Airport Road," she tells the girl, and orders
her to set the table, which she sees as a formative experience for the
young orphan. "I want you to have something that will make you feel
complete and loved and setting the table can do that!" she tells
the girl. "You could be known as the girl who sets the most beautiful
table in all of Timmins. Can you imagine? You'll have a reputation!"
|Written by: Claudia Dey.|
Directed by: Simone Elliott.
Cast: Kristen Cerelli, Sue Galloway, Judy Kranz, Rodney Lane Holland, Li Murillo, Jackie Payne, Tom White.
With this kind of loving attention, young Beatrice will have a reputation, all right, one befitting the nickname she gives herself: Beaver.
The rest of the play follows Beaver's emergence into womanhood surrounded by her well-meaning but ineffectual family and friends. Fortunately, it looks like she's going to live happily ever after in spite of it all.
It's an odd but endearing story told with a north-country mixture of frigid fatalism and humor.
The whole cast is fine appropriately prickly, in fact but Sue Galloway gets the
best role as a friend of the family who's always effervescent and helpful despite being dangerously
nuts. And who isn't? The play feels almost like a consciousness-raising female-empowerment story, but there's not a one of the characters who isn't seriously unhinged.
|FEBRUARY 1, 2001|
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