reviewed by Paula Citron
Written by Emil Sher
Directed by Lisa Balkan
Starring Steve Cumyn, Colin Doyle, Vickie Papavs and Kimwun Perehinec
At Tarragon Theatre Extra Space until Apr. 19
Playwright Emil Sher’s Mourning Dove is a brave attempt to write about the Robert Latimer incident – the euthanasia case where the Saskatchewan farmer killed his extremely disabled child.
Sher has made an excellent theatrical decision. The character of Tina, as the child is called, is not in the playing space. Rather, the actors look to the audience while we hear the child’s laboured breathing. Actress Kimwun Perehinec is off to the side in a shallow pool of light with the microphone. Thus Tina is a very real presence.
Sher has also added the character of a developmentally challenged young man called Keith (Colin Doyle) who works in the father’s store. His warm relationship with the father (Steve Cumyn) and the mother (Vickie Papavs) sets up the dramatic and ethical conflict. Lisa Balkan has directed with sensitivity.
It is a difficult topic, and Sher has created an intelligent piece of theatre.
Mourning Dove continues at Tarragon Theatre Extra Space until Apr. 19.