Wednesday, February 13, 2013

leave of absence | responses

"This kind of play is the reason we keep coming back to Pacific Theatre. The humour, and the struggle and finally the tears. How do you deliver the line “Of course, I’m built like a God” and have it bring so much laughter and yet seem perfectly natural, and then tear our hearts apart. Thank you." | Maggie Watts Hammond, Facebook

"I am sure you are getting mail, and there have been a wide variety of responses to LEAVE OF ABSENCE. I want to add mine to your file of GOOD letters. Perhaps you saw the note I sent to the cast. I was so impressed with the writing, the staging, the casting, and all aspects of the production...but especially by the idealogical and spirit-led momentum of the play. Several times it occurred to me, “yes, that is what I think” or “wow I wish I had said that”. I was moved to tears, to laughter, to pathos, and to THINK." | Michael Dobbin, Email

"I cannot urge you enough: go see Leave of Absence. It's absolutely hilarious, tragic, horrifying, and affecting. ... I hope we'll see more theatre, art, film, and writing like Leave of Absence." | Meghan Bell, Hush Magazine

"Leave of Absence made a deep impression on a senior, when I was young in the 40s and 50s, I was in a strong Catholic area and no one admitted to being “gay”. To see a young person being bullied/abused because they are different really made me think about what young people are facing nowadays. I keep thinking about the play and am grateful that it has opened my mind to an area I had given not any thought to." | Joan Freeman, Email

"I thought the play was fantastic! In fact it was the best script I have ever heard. It was so well crafted. Apart from Les Miserables no other play has led me through so many emotions. In fact this may have led me through more since it had great humour too! I have recommended it to others to see." | Craig, audience email

"Lucia’s writing made me want to meet her and get inside of her head! The play’s content touched me on a personal level, leaving me with a feeling that I had just had a conversation with a friend that could verbalize thoughts and questions and beliefs in a way that I couldn’t. Lucia has a gift to not force a certain view but to open discussion and to portray raw humanity, getting right to the point." | Hannah, audience email

"Lucia Frangione, one of the most celebrated writers in Vancouver, deservedly so, is very witty - with a touch of absurd - and so empathetic and loving. ... Bravo to Pacific Theatre and artistic director Ron Reed for championing new Canadian works and thank you Ms Frangione for tackling this important subject matter. I hope it affects change." | David C. Jones, The Charlebois Post

"I find it brave for Pacific Theatre to be putting on shows like this, because it does question religion and the church and deals with relatively taboo subjects. Not to mention that they are taking on new and original work, adding to the city's variety of choices and canon of theatre." | Alan Woo, Fun Fun Vancouver

"I’ve not been to the theatre in quite some time, for a number of personal reasons. The end of the piece left me in tears, and restored my faith in the ability of playwrights to tackle complicated subjects in ways that mean something to an audience without either imposing their final message or preaching, respecting the audience sufficiently to come to their own conclusions about the matters." | Ian Martin, I.A.M. Musing About...

"I thought this intersected with my life on so many counts! Thanks for being so thought provoking." | Kim, audience email

"As the young protagonist, Karyn Guenther is convincingly innocent and vulnerable ... Frangione steps onto the stage as Blake’s mother with a natural ease that no doubt comes from her connection to the material as playwright and Tom McBeath is effective in as the conflicted Father Ryan." Mark Robins, GayVancouver.Net

"There are also some persuasive performances in this production. The yearning and intelligence that Tom McBeath brings to Father Ryan help make the character a credibly complex guy. And, in her professional debut, Karyn Guenther impresses as Blake. Like innocence, religious rapture has to be tricky to play, but Guenther humbly brings it. In the evening’s best scene, Blake tells Ryan what grace feels like. It’s exciting to see newcomer Guenther holding her own with McBeath, a seasoned professional.” | Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

"It's not often that something sticks with me the way this play did, but I literally couldn't get it out of my mind. Heartbreaking and funny, all rolled into one." | Keltie, audience email

"Be prepared for a thought-provoking experience and come with your guard down. This show is a prime example of using art to further discussions on taboo topics. When the lights come up after an unexpected resolution, limits have been tested, held-off plans have been enacted, and the audience has been led to empathize with several perspectives. Knowing the playwright drew from personal experience in her writing, and then seeing her in the role of the mother, Greta, added an extra touch of life. For some, Leave of Absence will be hard to swallow, and for others it’ll be something to chew on, but everyone will leave with a new and different taste in their mouths." | Nataly Wiarda, MB Herald

@jillbarber: Vancouverites! Leave of Absence at the @PacificTheatre is a powerful, difficult, funny and heartbreaking play by @LuciaFrangione. Go see it!
@erikacoustic: Leave of Absense by @LuciaFrangione: Beautiful, bold, honest, raw look at faith and society. This is why I'm in theatre.
@melaniejean42: Beautiful performances & lots to think about in #LeaveofAbsence @PacificTheatre. Congrats to the company & best wishes for a great run!
@kyleridout: Felt privileged to hear the beautiful words of #LeaveofAbsence lots of moments of surprise, wit, depth... @PacificTheatre @LuciaFrangione
@marenw: Definitely left pretty teary eyed after #LeaveofAbsence @PacificTheatre... Pretty excellent, recommend checking it out!
@bethnickel: Went to see my auntie Marie in #leaveofabsence at @PacificTheatre. Very powerful and thought-provoking! Great evening!
@maureengjones: @PacificTheatre #LeaveofAbsence Amazing night of thought provoking theatre. Will ponder a lot of questions in my mind over the next 24.
@trev_stackhouse: Saw the phenomenal play "Leave of Absence" at @PacificTheatre last night. The cast did a terrific job in bringing a great script to life!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was a very fine scene in the second act between the priest and the young girl, beautifully acted and written, where suddenly I felt I was watching theatre at its best. I felt, I understood, I wanted to know more of each of them - for the first time in the evening. It was beautiful. While there was some pretty funny lines along the way, and the actors were strong and committed, most of the rest of the piece I found difficult to follow, soap operish, melodramatic, even unbelievable at times and it angered me. When the young girl after being attacked by the gang of high school guys came into the priest's office and not only freely told him of all that so quickly and easily, but then went into an almost relishing (and present tense) recounting of her sexual experience with her girlfriend the previous weekend in graphic detail, I was sickened. Not because of anything the girl said, but because it seemed the playwright clearly had no experience or sense of what it is to be molested as a teenager and valued the theatrical value of a sensuous retelling of the sexual experience over anything else - in doing so, for me anyways, she instantly and entirely discredited the story of the young girl so far. That's just one example of many throughout the play that confused and disturbed me - ultimately, aside from the one lovely scene that I mentioned above - it is unfortunately the feeling that the play left me with - confusion and feeling kind of sickened. Not by the subject matter.