Theatre @ York wraps its 2011-2012 season with Restoration, a play by visionary English playwright Edward Bond, directed by David Storch. The play opened March 18 and will continue until March 24 at York University.
Bond’s biting and witty play strips away the genteel veneer of life in 18th-century England to expose the brutal truth beneath. The plot centres on a guileless servant named Bob and his devotion to his cynical and irresponsible master, Lord Are. Bob’s unquestioning acceptance of traditional social strata and aristocratic privilege has a tragic outcome, as he loses everything to a class struggle of which he had no idea he was part. Throughout the play, the characters must work to realize what freedom means, and what it takes to become free.
Edward Bond. Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
When it premiered in 1981, Britain was in the midst of social and political turmoil. Rising unemployment, racial tensions and an increasing backlash to Thatcherism led to protests and riots across the nation. In this climate of unrest, a play warning against blindly complying with the demands of the ruling class was a daring slap in the face of the powers that be.
Today, similar warnings appear on the placards of Occupy demonstrations that have been cropping up across the globe, the show’s student assistant directors point out. “Restoration is a call to arms for the everyman, and a reminder that authority only exists as long as we accept its power.”
Storch has worked across Canada as a director, actor and educator. Some of his recent directorial credits include Metamorphoses (Globe Theatre), Glengarry Glen Ross (Soulpepper), The Palace of the End, A Number, Sunday Father, Twelfth Night, and Misery (Canadian Stage).
Music director for the show is undergraduate student Samuel Sholdice, who studies composition and classical performance in York’s Department of Music. He composed original scores set to the lyrical texts found throughout Bond’s script. In keeping with the theme of class politics, Sholdice wrote his music to be played on found instruments with interesting stories: a banjo from a dumpster, a toy keyboard, a battered 45-year-old electric guitar. His previous composition credits for Theatre @ York include Marat/Sade and Ti Jean and his Brothers.
Storch directs a lively young cast drawn from the Undergraduate Acting Conservatory in York’s Department of Theatre. A creative team of undergraduate students is handling all aspects of the production design and execution for the production, which is being staged in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre on the Keele campus.
Tickets are $17, or $12 for students and seniors, and $5 for previews. For tickets, contact the Box Office at 416-736-5888. The play runs to March 24at 7:30pm nightly, plus matinees March 21 and 23 at 1pm.