Brian Dooley

I got a kick out of The Trespassers. Award-winning playwright Morris Panych paints a light-hearted, meaningful look into the relationship between a boy (acted brilliantly by Amitai Marmorstein) and his grandfather (Brian Dooley, also perfectly cast for this role). These two actors are standouts in a cast that includes Jennifer Clement, Natascha Girgis, and Raphael Kepinski.

Kepinski, Marmorstein, Girgis
[Raphael Kepinski, Amiatai Marmorstein, Natascha Girgis]

I was excited to see Marmorstein again, having enjoyed two of his past shows, Legoland and Nelly Boy. His youthful looks work in so many roles that he’s cast in, and this one is no exception.

15-year old Lowell seeks friendship and guidance in a small town on the edge of nowhere. The peach orchard is Grandpa’s favourite spot for contemplating life, reading old magazines, and stealing a peach here and there (“perfectly fine, they’ve fallen on the ground, and nobody owns the orchard anymore”). Lowell’s mom (Cash) works as an official museum guide, however few visitors come and go. A lonely divorcée, she’s happy that her Dad is around for Lowell, as he’s no ordinary kid, going through adolescence with little supervision.

Marmorstein, Clement
[Amitai Marmorstein, Jennifer Clement]

The play is told in a series of flashbacks. The police officer (Raphael Kepinski, as Milton) is trying to piece together a story that during the course of the play, we learn some of the truths told by Lowell. The problem is, it’s hard to figure out Lowell; he’s been diagnosed with bipolar tendencies. I felt that in the end it wasn’t up to the audience to make sense of his condition, but rather to experience the relationship between the three pivotal characters: Lowell, Cash, and Grandpa.

Kepinski, Clement, Marmorstein
[Raphael Kepinski, Jennifer Clement, Amitai Marmorstein]

Jennifer Clement (as Roxy, Grandpa’s friend/sometime lover) helps the play along and hilariously gives Lowell her share of “guidance”, to the disapproval of his mother.

The series of circumstances that ensue throughout the play’s two acts keep the audience engaged and entertained. This isn’t a difficult or exhausting play to experience, but one that’s light, sweet, and full of honesty.

Dooley, Clement
[Brain Dooley, Jennifer Clement]

The set is simple and fluctuates between a table and chairs, and the illuminated peach orchard.

The Trespassers premiered in 2009 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and will continue at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre until April 16 (no performances on Sundays).

Tickets can be purchased online, at the box office (at Hamilton & Dunsmuir, open Mon.-Fri., 10am-5pm), or by calling 604.873.3311. The Trespassers is the final Vancouver Playhouse production of 2011’s Mainstage Season.

Photos courtesy of David Cooper.

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