Krull (Ken Kramer) is a slightly old-fashioned leading actor given to self-deprecation. Mickey (William Vickers) is a natural comedian who frets when he is not performing. Fran (Wendy Van Riesen) is energetic but wildly disorganized, an actress given to outbursts of comic supplication to the gods of theatre. In Rex Deverell’s Quartet For Three Actors, which premièred two weeks ago at Regina’s Globe Theatre, this odd trio is trapped on an empty stage, unable to find the exit. A funny and oddly comforting play about unsettling ideas, Quartet has been imaginatively directed by Pam Hawthorn in a production that preserves the play’s humor without losing sight of its darker undertones.
At first the actors simply act out their lives, hoping to discover their exit lines. But soon they begin to wonder if, instead of being actors, they are merely characters in a play— and all the world is in fact just a stage. Then they use the theatre to save themselves, escaping up an invisible mountain in a swirl of stage effects they have conjured up. At the summit they confront an invisible fourth actor—the unseen God who, like the playwright, brings uncomprehending characters onto the stage. If there is one weakness in the play, it is that Deverell is too quick to mock his characters, making it hard to empathize with them. Still, he argues that if human beings are the children of God then life is comedy, not tragedy.
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