Lower Ossington Theatre’s production of Lord of the Flies has some redeeming qualities in that they found the broad strokes of the production but truly needed subtlety, groundedness and nuance. This is a company of mainly young actors and I found many of them relied on over the top characterizations. This is a piece that requires naturalistic acting which here was lacking.
William Golding’s novel is a beautiful work of art and Nigel Williams has masterfully adapted it for the stage. The words and the powerful story line is what save this production because the performances did not delve deep enough.
The ensemble of actors work well together and I can see the effort that has been put into the production, but director Darcy Evans needed to dial in most of the performances because in such a small space, it seemed like they were working too hard with overly big facial expressions and moments where it was just unnecessarily loud.
Michael Galloro created a lovely set, simple yet effective and Mikael Kangas provided dramatic lighting that perfectly complemented the piece.
There were several technical problems. I recognize that this is a small company with a potentially tight budget but the beast that appeared out of the sky, which was supposed to be the corpse of a pilot looked so obviously fake that it was hard to suspend disbelief. A stronger choice would have been to do away with the dummy altogether and just have the actors see the beast somewhere off stage without revealing it to the audience. Also, a small fire was started and then suddenly begins to rage out of control. The problem was that the fire was set at the front of a raised platform and was such a small fire that it made no sense for it to begin to rage near the back of the platform.
When a pig is killed and brought on stage, the pig looks realistic enough however the actors handle it like it weighs nothing. A pig is going to be a couple of hundred pounds so I need to see the actors struggle under the weight and not move it around like it is just a prop. I am also not sure why the director made the choice of doing two intermissions in a one hour and thirty minute show with one of the intermissions occurring after only a half an hour. It really broke up the flow of the piece and was completely unnecessary.
I support many of LOT’s productions and I appreciate that they give young artists the opportunity to perform and hone their craft. For me, Lord of the Flies was not one of their best. It stayed with me mainly because of the classic script but the production needed to be stronger and fuller.
Photos: Seanna Kennedy Photography