Cliché as it may be, we do live in an era where the answer to any question can be uncovered in a matter of seconds, where we are taught far more to unravel than admire. It is on this premise that Egregore, the brainchild of student writer Alicia Schultz finds its highest level of poignancy in its strikingly modern audience. The director’s note on my program more or less set the tone for what the production was trying to achieve, that it was being put on “because it’s a good story” which, for the most part, it was. Though the dialogue in the first few scenes came off as slightly stilted, the play was centred around a dying carnival troupe held together by a reluctant hypnotist and an ethereal, mysterious woman.
The set made for a striking spectacle in its own right; the intimate nature of the Barron lent itself well to the minimalist look. The high cloth arches of a somewhat medieval gazebo provided bolts of bright red that seemed out of place in the Barron, highlighting a contrast that would permeate the entire production: something was out of place. Though occasionally the running crew responsible for making scenic changes was a bit loud and seemed off-cue, overall scene changes were handled smoothly by the actors and lighting team, though the noise did create a disconnection between audience and cast.
As in many productions with small casts, oftentimes the smaller parts were vibrant enough to somewhat overshadow, and occasionally distract from, the overall storyline of the play. Phoebe Soulon left a memorable impression on the audience no matter where she was positioned onstage, never once breaking her character of a Texan woman gone rogue. Equally, the singing and dancing talents of Scott Wilson were a pleasant surprise in the show’s few musical interludes.
Though Sarah Pollock made a striking presence on stage as the inexplicable Evie, it seemed sometimes that the archaic diction required of her character was slightly lost in transition from the old to the new, though this ultimately did not detract from her believability as a femme fatale in her own right.
Bragging rights go to Stephen Quinn in the lead role as Roderick, who delivered the most well-written comedic monologue that left the audience breathless with laughter. Quinn’s impeccable comedic timing and acting style contributed to this part being a highlight talked about through the audience well after the play had ended.
Ultimately the play offered a mesmerizing concept that was often individually well executed, and likely will develop as a unit, or rather, collective mind, now that the jitters and stigma of opening night have passed, smoothing over a few smaller issues to create a spectacle of the mind and the eye. Though it is not and (neither did it claim to be) high art, the play’s interesting, subversive nature is reason enough to see it, not to mention a talented cast and passionate team.