The Carousel @ Traverse Theatre
Carousels are defined visually by their glamorous lights, highly polished surfaces and lavishly decorated assorted animals for children (or occasional adults) to parade around on with joyous pleasure. The Carousel, by Jennifer Tremblay, fits the same description, for the play is truly a shimmering array of music and lights, swirling the stage into a mystical wonderland from the moment Maureen Beattie steps into vision.
Beattie plays a woman who is suddenly called away from her family by her mother, who is enduring her final moments. Without hesitation she jumps in the car to take the journey to her frail mother, and so begins the domino of memories that join her on her ride, her dead grandmother’s soul suspended among them.
An interesting story of a woman coming to terms with her past and the mistakes that have been made, the script seems rather too erratic at times to be comprehensible to the audience. The dialogue is hard to follow as the hectic bodily movements of the actress circles the stage. While this may have increased the dramatic impact of emotion as her body was contorted against the reflective floor, the dictation was subsequently distorted.
Yet, for what the script lacked in continuity, Beattie makes up for in her acting as she skips around the stage going from tears to laughter in a matter of minutes. Those expressive blue eyes stay visually marked in one’s mind long after darkness has settled in the Traverse Theatre.