A tragic satire of unearthed secrets…
A mother is ill and passes, leaving her family to take of the funeral arrangements and bring the house in order. Not an over dramatic story and a quite simple plot line, were it not for the family secrets that arise on this struggle of a 40-mile funeral procession.
Addie Bundren, the wife of Anse Bundren and the matriarch of a poor southern family has four children; brothers Darl, Jewel, Vardaman, and Cash and their sister Dewey Dell each. As the first scenes progress the audience discovers that Anse, always cash strapped, will always take the cheapest course of action if it’s not the right one. Anse made his wife a promise to bury her in Jefferson on her family’s plot. Cash, the oldest son, a carpenter by trade, promised to make her the casket – and the whole family arranged to make the journey. Again, a simple task had the rain not washed out all the bridges.
The nine day adventure that ensued teaches us about the family dynamic, the secrets that Addie Bundren held, the struggles they have all endured, their guilt and their own lies – and secrets that haunt them now. Filled with jealousy, insanity, un-wanted pregnancy and betrayal, the plot thickens and takes the audience for a bumpy ride to Jefferson Township.
The set is a simplistic, pure structure (there is no set, only a stage) allowing nothing to interfere with the telling of the story. The narrators change throughout the acts providing new insights into the family storyline and a different perspective. Each actor also takes on multiple roles using only simple props and accents to convey the change. The over dramatization of a few characters was endearing and not forced. It allowed the audience to feel at ease during other tense moments and even laugh out loud at times.
Left floating at the end, with questions still unanswered, discussions could be had, most perhaps about the adventures they would endure on the 40 mile journey back home.
Playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille until March 31, tickets can be found at www.artsboxoffice.ca. Bring a friend or two so the post discussion can bring out additional viewpoints.
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