Posted by Amie / October 16, 2010
..."And that's when the river started to rise."
It may take a long time for this story to feel like a fairy tale, but once the magic kicks in you'll be held in a mermaid's snares until the end.
The Flood Thereafter is translated from French where the word "sirčne" comes along with a few more dark connotations than the English version of "mermaid". Honestly I read up on the play a bit before going and was waiting to be hit in the face by a fairytale - a mermaid, a prince, an evil queen - but the characters here are shades of grey, with a little bit of gold, silver, and a lot of blue thrown in.
The picture of a beautiful creature luring men to their watery deaths is what you want to hold in your mind if you're fortunate enough to see this play being put on at Theatre La Chapelle until next Saturday. The sirčne/mermaid's daughter played by Amelia Sargisson is beautifully lost in translation - a kind of twisted romantic hero complete with flaw. Her character needs about an extra hour of stage time to flush out, but the fun of the show is placing all the different characters into their loosely-fitted fairy-tale assignments. The ambiguity of the villain, the often chafing delivery of the Prince whose beer drinking habits don't correspond to his body or stage personality, and the sometimes confusing but ever captivating story-telling of Felicia Shulman's heart-broken Penelope, make this a satisfyingly knit yarn.
Based in a small fishing village in Quebec there's somehow enough small-town exoticism and magic created by the production (the best of which is Catherine Colvey's impressive portrayal of an un-motherly mother perfectly caught between English and French) to make what could be a rough rendition of a stripper's story into a deeper examination of the generations of village families affected by a very human mermaid's mysterious appearance.
The Flood Thereafter may be a different kind of fairytale, but sometimes it's good to be lulled into a swell of water and just let yourself drown.
The Flood Thereafter is playing at Theatre La Chapelle until October 23rd at 8pm, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday.