An important production with a little bit of everything
By Savanah Tillberg, Arts and Culture Editor
Earlier this month the local theatre club, Cambrian Players, premiered their first play of the season. Mom’s Gift, directed by Beverley Gravelle-Macleod, packed an emotional punch, leaving the audience grappling with an array of sentiments. The play evoked laughs, tears, screams, and even a little peep-show from the elderly neighbour.
Mom’s Gift follows Kat, a successful engineer who returns home for the first time since her mother’s funeral to attend her father’s birthday party. A seemingly normal family gathering goes awry when Kat realizes that she is, in fact, being haunted by the ghost of her mother.
Her mother’s ghost returns to help her family and friends mend some of their strained relationships and to leave her family with a sense of peace. Ultimately, mom’s ghost wants her family to continue on happily with their lives and she’d like her spirit to go to… well… there was no consensus among the characters as to where, but definitely to somewhere more peaceful.
Gravelle-Macleod refers to her production as “comedy with a hear” and says, “it has very difficult subject matter to deal with sometimes, and it [does so] with humor.” The play was originally written by Phil Olsen and is set in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gravelle-Macleod says the setting was one of the reasons why the play stood out to her – not only was the play modern, but it was fairly local, and thus would be relatable for a Thunder Bay audience (especially for the Vikings fans). According to Gravelle-Macleod, Mom’s Gift has won four awards and has placed in twenty other competitions thus far. She calls the production a highly decorated show, and is excited to have her name associated with it.
The play was certainly clever and managed to encapsulate a wide spectrum of emotions all within a mere two hours. The story features clashes between parents, children, siblings, and lovers (and not without the somewhat inappropriate anecdotes from the neighbour, Mrs. Norquist). This play picks apart troubled human relationships and exposes the love, hate, jealousy, pain, regret, and poor self-esteem of each character before carefully piecing them back together as a whole again. Despite the range of problems present between various characters in this play, Gravelle-Macleod and her small, experienced, and highly eccentric crew, seamlessly incorporate all of the drama while still managing to include some mature humor.
Mom’s Gift has certainly lived up to the expectations set by previous Cambrian Players productions, and has affirmed its spot as another successful play now under Gravelle-Macleod’s belt. She notes that she wanted to direct a play “that was just a little more important,” and would leave the audience thinking about their own lives and relationships.
Mom’s Gift wrapped up on November 25th, but if you missed it, Cambrian Players has two more major productions scheduled for this season. Check out their website to stay updated for their upcoming productions of Hamlet and Almost Maine.