I’d never had the opportunity to visit Newfoundland before – it’s the last of Canada’s ten provinces for me – so I was very happy to visit St. John’s recently and get to know a city I’ve heard so many good things about – and which has been home to such a wide swath of Canada’s theatre community over the years.
As it turns out, Jillian Keiley is directing a new production of Robert Chafe’s 1997 play, Under Wraps, in St. John’s. I met Jill earlier this season upon her arrival in Ottawa as the new artistic director of the National Arts Centre’s English Theater, and she was kind enough to invite me to sit in on an almost-dress-rehearsal over the weekend at St. John’s LSPU Hall.
Since it hasn’t opened yet, I’m not going to review this production, but I don’t think I’m giving much away by saying it’s a love story with a lot of heart – complete with a “shape-shifting” chorus who provide the music, the commentary … and the furniture. And it was a particular delight to discover that Chafe, who wrote the play and acted in the original production, is back as a member of the chorus, though you won’t get to see him until the curtain call.
Under Wraps opens at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s on May 7 and runs through May 19. If you’re anywhere in the vicinity, do try and see it – details at Artistic Fraud.