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Caroline Gillis, left,<br />and Tracy Wright in <i>A Beautiful View</i>
Caroline Gillis, left,
and Tracy Wright in A Beautiful View

Review: A Beautiful View in Ottawa

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A Beautiful View runs at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa through April 30. Resident theatre critic Connie Meng was at the opening night performance and has this review.

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Connie Meng
Theatre Critic

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A BEAUTIFUL VIEW now playing at GCTC is serious, funny and touching.  The play is produced by da da kamera, founded in 1986 as a production company for new theatre.  The company, under the aegis of Director Daniel MacIvor and Producer Sherrie Johnson, focuses on creation, placing no limits on the time it takes for a project's development. 

A BEAUTIFUL VIEW follows the relationship of two women who, throughout their lives, periodically come together and split up.  Writer/Director MacIvor describes the play as being about, quote, ". . . joy and misery, confusion and clarity, how nothing ever changes and how one moment can alter the whole world.  In short, it is a play about love."

Mr. MacIvor's script is thoughtful and clever.  There a couple of entertaining discussions about the meaning of the phrase, "Nothing is enough."  The meaning changes as the women age.  The two women form a band in which they both play ukuleles.  The band's name?  UKULAR.  There's a pithy comment about relationships.  "[We] should stop naming things and let it be what it is."  The final moment when we discover the origin of the play's title is quite moving.

The physical production is very spare and very inventive.  The world of the play is created with just a small tent, two wooden folding chairs, an artificial fig tree, a tape recorder and two ukuleles.  Kimberly Purtell's lighting design and Michael Laird's sound and music add a great deal in helping to shape and define the action, particularly in the play's final moments.

Tracy Wright and Caroline Gillis are both very strong actresses.  They breathe three-dimensional life into these two characters.  I enjoyed the subtle changes in the characters and in their relationship as they moved through their lives.

Director MacIvor has staged his play simply but creatively.  For example the silent opening with just the sound of crickets is terrific and goes on just long enough.

I'd heard about da da kamera and looked forward to seeing their work.  A BEAUTIFUL VIEW makes it clear that their process of development produces a kind of organic creation that invites the audience in.

On a scale of one to five the da da kamera production of A BEAUTIFUL VIEW at GCTC gets four and three fourths pizzas.  For North Country Public Radio I'm Connie Meng.  

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