Capital Critics' Circle
Le cercle des critiques de la capitale

Reviewing Theatre in Canada's Capital Region
La critique théâtrale de la région Ottawa-Gatineau

: The Color Purple

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage   ,

An Engaging, Entertaining, and Thought Provoking Musical

purple_08Boston’s SpeakEasy Theatre has a winning production in The Color Purple, the musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize novel. Director Paul Daigneault mounted an energetic, exciting, and even stirring show with a talented cast of singers, dancers, and actors. While the presentation is powerful and follows Walker’s storyline, Marsha Norman’s sanitized and simplified adaptation lacks the depth of the original text.

The play begins in the early twentieth-century South and follows the life of Celie a poor, rural overworked, victimized black woman, understandably lacking all self-confidence and hope. Raped by her stepfather, she has her first child at age 14 and another soon after. He takes the babies from her and only years later does she discover that they are alive and secure. Her mother dead, her babies gone, Celie’s only friend and confidant is Nettie, her pretty, bright younger sister. The stepfather gives the hard-working Celie (along with a cow) to a brutal man she refers to as Mister and who, in turn, abuses her and drives away Nettie with his sexual advances. Alone, with no one to love and no one who loves her, Celie confides in God through letters, the narrative device for the book and, to a degree, the musical. (Continue reading » )

Sugar:Author Robbie McCalauley Traces her Own Life

Reviewed by on    All the world's a stage   , , ,

For a number of years, actress, director, performance artist, teacher, and writer Robbie McCauley has been creating socio-political works, which draw on her family history, as in Indian Blood and the OBIE winner Sally’s Rape.  In Sugar McCauley traces her own life, beginning in childhood in a still segregated Georgia.  Life revolved around family, community, cooking, eating, and the garden which supplied the family with healthful food.  A happy and seemingly fit child, her cuts and bruises healed slowly. She was told that she must “have a little sugar,” code for diabetes.

McCauley tells us: “Sugar is complicated” – and it is in this play.  It connects to love, pleasure, illness, pain, suffering, overcoming, and slavery.  She wrote Sugar to rid herself of the shame she felt about the stigma of diabetes and to bring attention to the growing problem of the disease in the African American community.

(Continue reading » )