reviewed by Paula Citron
The Madness of the Square
Cahoots Theatre Projects
Written by Marjorie Chan
Directed by Ruth Madoc-Jones
Starring Ella Chan, Stephanie Jung, Karl Ang, Shannon Kook-Chun, John Ng and Siobhan Richardson
At Factory Theatre until May 3.
Marjorie Chan’s The Madness of the Square takes on an iconic subject matter – the 1989 pro-reform protests that led to the Tiananmen Square massacre by Chinese government troops. Her play is certainly ambitious, but a little too earnest.
The Tiananmen incident is rich in dramatic possibilities. Through her characters, Chan tries to show various conflicting viewpoints among the students, and in this she succeeds. Where Chan falters is in her use of a Greek chorus. Their choral recitation is just too pretentious and old-fashioned. Chan also adds in two love stories which are not needed. The dialogue between the different agendas is far more interesting.
Director Ruth Madoc-Jones’ vision includes countless banners and draperies which are colourful, and her use of various projections are well-pointed. The uneven acting of the six characters, however, does not help.
A little less preachy would be good, but the play does hold interest.
The Madness of the Square continues at Factory Theatre until May 3.