Reviews to help you through the hit-or-miss loveliness that is the Calgary Fringe Festival
BEYOND THE PAIL
July 30, 2011
Beyond the Pail addresses a theme particularly relevant in a place like
While the play is actually set an ocean away – on a Welsh dairy farm – the issue it examines is universal: the fate of the small, family-run farm in the face of huge production operations, which are more factories than farms.
Creator and performer Carys Lewis, who was born in Wales, explores the theme of the impending death of the traditional farm from several perspectives: the aging couple struggling to keep it going, whose children have no intention of carrying on the family business; the young girl who finds farm life stultifying and dreams of escape; and the troubled city kid who, unintentionally, finds farm-life therapeutic.
Lewis does the play in mask, a very effective technique for this show and the thing that really makes it work. Not only do the masks help her differentiate between the play’s several characters, they also add a sense of whimsy and charm to the production. The only downside is the pace of the play drags as a result of the lights continually going up-and-down to accommodate mask and costume changes.
Lewis also makes effective use of audio, with a montage of news clips that convey a sense of urgency about the challenges and difficulties small farms face.
Beyond the Pail is a charming play, and the director’s stylistic choices reflect the bucolic and pastoral life the show mourns the disappearance of.