REVISITED created by Christian Barry, Steven McCarthy and Michelle Monteith, conceived and directed by Barry (2b theatre/New World Stage). At the Brigantine Room (235 Queens Quay West). To April 19. $25. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNNN
“There are two or three human stories,” says Steven McCarthy to us, near the beginning of this remarkable show, “and they keep on repeating themselves.”
That statement proves true in more ways than one. Revisited takes its words and/or structure from a handful of great American writers (Willa Cather, Walt Whitman and Thornton Wilder) to tell a simple tale of small-town life, love and death.
Seated around a long narrow table, we watch as McCarthy and Michelle Monteith play out an archetypal tale filled with moments of recognition (the blossoming of young love) and familiar characters (the misfit piano teacher).
The actors sit down with us at the table. McCarthy, besides playing narrator and the young smitten Tom (in love with Monteith’s Helen), becomes several townsfolk with laid-back ease. An overhead pulley suggests a washing line but also allows for many surprises that pierce the heart with their simple beauty.
Barry and his fine design team achieve an intimacy that’s rare in theatre. A white banner in a wedding scene feels positively ceremonial when it passes overhead, while a couple of lighting effects in the 70-minute work’s moving third section elicit gasps of astonishment from the audience (limited, as it must be, to 28).
Even walking through a curtained-off corridor to and from the table creates a feeling of reverence and ritual.
The performances, relaxed and naturalistic, feel authentic – so much so that you’ll likely be shedding a tear along with Monteith’s Helen as she speaks from the graveyard about life’s ephemerality. Don’t miss this show.