Hymm’s in Hearse Theatre’s production, Pachiv! revolves around Grease (Tony Adams) and Ewe (Chelsea Young), a young Easter European couple newly arrived to Canada. They hold a “pachiv,” or lantern party to get to know their neighbours. Although the couple is energetic, optimistic, and a little bit naive, a darker layer lurks behind their hospitality and smiles. Although they have left their lives in the old country behind, their problems have followed them to Canada.
Although Adams and Young put a lot of energy into this production, they ultimately fail to connect with the subject matter and, therefore, the audience. The issues their production touches on – poverty, starting a new in a foreign land, the immigrant experience – are all very real to many Canadians. After all, this is the fabric of Canada’s story. Pachiv! fails to capture this experience, mostly because it feels like the actors are telling a story so far removed form their own experiences that they could only brush at its surface. Accents (which magically disappear whenever Adams and Young sing) don’t make a story about immigrants and, at times, run the risk of being offensive to the group of people being portrayed.
A production that asks actors to step into a different culture and mindset takes a lot of research and understanding. Unfortunately, Pachiv! didn’t show either. The actors came off as being in over their heads, trying to portray people, issues, and a subject neither of them understood.
Pachiv! plays at Bronfman Amphitheatre