Goodness grips

GOODNESS by Michael Redhill (Volcano). At the Theatre Centre. To September 27. See Continuing. Rating: NNNNN

Reeling from a broken marriage, a Canadian writer travels to Europe to explore his roots and gets caught up in a kaleidoscopic story about an unnamed past genocide.

Meeting Althea (Lili Francks), a woman who formerly guarded an intellectual (Layne Coleman) thought to have fostered the genocide, Michael Redhill (Gord Rand) – also the playwright’s name – steps in and out of her tale, confronting her earlier self (Tara Hughes), the intellectual’s daughter (Amy Rutherford) and a steely prosecutor (J.D. Nicholsen).

Director Ross Manson stages Redhill’s extraordinary script, which is in part a mystery story, so that the audience is intimately involved in the action as well as the play’s arguments and emotions.

We’re forced to confront not only the characters’ beliefs but also our own, since the play offers constantly shifting viewpoints on the nature (or even the possibility) of objective truth, and questions why people do evil and what then becomes of them.

The result is a simply argued but rich, complexly assembled work in which characters challenge their creator as if they were in a Pirandello play. There’s not a wrong dramatic moment, including the haunting use of a cappella songs.

A passionate, enthralling production, not to be missed.

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