“I can’t feel my nose,” was one spectator’s exclamation during the show. That’s the thing about this play. If you are going to put your audience outside in -18 degrees Celsius, there should be a reason for the discomfort. A murder. An incredible loss. Something that makes the audiences’ blood chill. Instead, I left the theatre with two things: a numb body and a runny nose.
Theatre Columbus’ Weather the Weather or How We Make it Home Together, a brand new walkabout play written by Haley McGee and directed by Jennifer Brewin, would have worked wonders at a children’s/youth theatre – indoors. The plot is positively magical and the stock characters, with their grand gestures, feel as though they fall directly out of a fairytale. I commend the ensemble (Kawa Ada, Lisa Karen Cox, Colin Doyle, Amy Lee and Courtenay Stevens) for five charming, high-energy performances and their innate story-telling abilities, which kept the audience as engaged as possible, despite the outside distractions.
When an unimaginably harsh storm throws brother-sister duo Daga (Amy Lee) and Diwrnod (Kawa Ada) into a world unknown, Daga is determined to find her way back home. Diwrnod – on the other hand – is reluctant to do so and the pair splits up as a result. Daga meets an eccentric prince (Courtenay Stevens) with a “sweet melodic voice and culinary prowess” (he can make chili), and Diwrnod gets conned in to a trap set by the evil Igora (Lisa Karen Cox) – a troll who makes it her goal to control the weather and steal all light for herself. Despite Daga’s initial mission, she is faced with more important matters now. She must save her brother’s life and at the same time, she can’t hide her newly developed feelings for her magical prince, even though she doesn’t want to “put a label” on their relationship.
This is a play about what it means to be home. While Daga initially thinks home is simply co-ordinates on a map, she soon learns, along with her brother, that home is the place you make it to be.
Set in several different sites at the Outdoor Winter Theatre of Evergreen Brick Works, my only disappointment fell within the venue, which was more of a distraction than an aid. Between my frozen toes and the taller audience members who had the tendency to stand at the front of the crowd, blocking everyone’s view, I found that I had a difficult time immersing myself into the world of the play. My advice? Wear thermal everything. Bring tissues. Bring a thermos of hot beverage. And hope that you will have more respectful tall spectators in your audience. I could have used a stool – seriously.
Weather the Weather or How We Make it Home Together is playing at the Outdoor Winter Theatre at Evergreen Brick Works until December 30th. Tickets $12.50-$32.00. For tickets call 416.504.7529 or visit www.artsboxoffice.ca.