>>>SummerWorks review: The Living


The Theatre Centre Incubator (1115 Queen West)

Rating: NNNN

Aug 8 at 2:45 pm, Aug 9 at 2:15 pm, Aug 10 at 10 pm, Aug 12 at 9:45 pm, Aug 13 at 7:30 pm, Aug 15 at 2:45 pm, Aug 16 at 5:30 pm. 1-888-328-8384, summerworks.ca.

Based on years of research in Africa by writer Colleen Wagner, this dark and poignant ensemble drama depicts a small, non-specific agrarian village trying to recover after a horrific civil war and genocide has turned neighbouring ethnic groups against each other.

We see a wide range of experiences: bitter, low-level war criminals released from prison trying to live amongst their old enemies a government-funded priest peddling truth and reconciliation victims of rape suffering from disease and the loss of family members bystanders ravaged by the guilt of not intervening.

It’s a hard-hitting anatomy of the social wreckage following ethnic cleansing that could be applied to numerous instances, historic and present-day. The dialogue is a bit clunky at times, but solid performances keep the focus on the characters’ stories and their various searches for a way forward.

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