Patrick Donovan
Patrick Donovan
Patrick is a part-time reporter and 2nd year student at UNB pursuing an honours undergraduate degree in History, after which he plans to pursue either his Master’s degree, a law degree, or both! He is originally from Hampton, New Brunswick, a small town about twenty minutes outside of Saint John. With a high school English teacher as a mother, he developed an understanding and appreciation for writing at a young age, and has been loving it ever since! Mostly writing for the Arts & Lifestyle section, he is still fascinated by many other topics. Whether it’s writing about theatre or other performances, food, cultural exchange, dabbling in news, the latest interesting event, or even some new research, you might find him there with something to say about it! No matter the topic, he’s happy to be working with a great team and can’t wait to deliver quality journalism through a student publication. The 2018-2019 year is bound to be full of change and exciting stories, and he wants to help show the Brunswickan’s lovely readers just how much intrigue Fredericton has to offer!
April 28, 2019

Theatre UNB boggles their audience with Existentialist comedies

Left to right: Hannah Blizzard, Sean Miller, Mary Walker, Hirad Hajilou | Photo by Mike Johnston

Theatre UNB addressed dark and difficult concepts to take their audiences on two theatrical rollercoasters entitled The Real Inspector Hound and No Exit.

On the nights of Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, Theatre UNB addressed dark and difficult concepts to take their audiences on two theatrical rollercoasters entitled The Real Inspector Hound and No Exit.

The Real Inspector Hound is described by director Len Falkenstein as a play working on multiple levels. “It’s a cuttingly sharp satire of theatre criticism, a parody of Agatha Christie-style locked door murder mysteries, an actual murder mystery, and a thought-provoking metatheatrical exploration,” he said.  

To the credit of Falkenstein’s direction and the talent of the cast, TUNB’s version of the show managed to communicate all of these ideas to their audience whilst inspiring laughter and enjoyment.

Mike Johnston and a group of students worked together to create what they described as a simple, but visually striking set. Accompanied by Alfred Hitchcock’s Music to be Murdered By, the red slanted walls created a closed and bloody space.

The audience soon learns that two of the audience members are theatre critics, and so begins the metatheatrical nature of the show. Moon, played by BA student Julianna Richard, is a runner-up to the star theatre critic Higgs, and can’t help but feel enraged and a tad murderous about being a seat-warmer to her supposedly more talented colleague. Moon is joined by Birdboot, a critic with an appreciation for the opposite sex that goes far enough to trouble his wife.

The audience in the theatre included students, professors and community members alike. In addition to the diversity of the crowd, nearly every seat in the venue was full.

Left to right: Sean Miller (on the ground), Jane Marney, Julianne Richard and Rory Jurmain in the background, Brooke Brenton, Alex Pannier, Swarna Naojee | Photo by Mike Johnston

The unpredictability of Stoppard’s plot seemed to delight the audience. Eventually, the critics are thrown into the action and the show changes from predictable comedy to an array of meta commentary which blurs the line between theatre and life.

“Just keeping up with Stoppard’s intellectual gymnastics is the enjoyable challenge for all,” said  Falkenstein.

Sartre’s No Exit takes a more serious tone than The Real Inspector, but shares the theme of captivity.

After a brief fifteen-minute intermission and fast changes to the versatile and effective set made by Johnston and the students, the stage is set again. Now a more enclosed space has been created with the addition of another blood-red wall, and notably sparse furniture.

Three strangers are placed in the room together, and the audience slowly learned that the trapped occupants were in Hell.

Business student Hirad Hajilou played a Brazilian journalist; St. Thomas University English and drama student Hannah Blizzard played a hard-headed lesbian post office clerk; and UNB student Mary Walker played the ditzy and beautiful Estelle. While each actor had physical traits that made them rather suitable for the roles, their performances made the characters and production all the more convincing.

While the characters realize the nature of their torture along with the audience, there are plenty of dark moments where everyone is unsure whether they should laugh, or cry. As the play unfolds, the misdeeds and sins of each character comes to light, revealing their innermost insecurities and secrets.

As the true nature of their torture is revealed, the darkest yet funniest line of the show is stated by Hajilou: “Hell is other people!”

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