A Beautiful View (April 13, 2011), National Post

MacIvor's view of life is pure magic

Art truly does illuminate life in A Beautiful View

By Martin Millerchip, The National Post, April 13, 2011

A Beautiful View by Daniel MacIvor, a Ruby Slippers Theatre production at Presentation House Theatre to April 9. Box office: 604-990-3474.

Despite the fact that theatre has always been part of my life, there are times when going to see a production is just one more chore in a busy week.

And then there are the weeks that the rewards are so fulfilling or so thought-provoking, that the time spent cannot be quantified.

I did not see the 2009 production of this show that garnered rave reviews, so it was all new to me Tuesday night. Quite simply, the Ruby Slippers production of A Beautiful View at Presentation House is magic. Its short 75 minutes illuminate the lives of two women and their relationship so completely, there is no other word.

It helps that playwright Daniel MacIvor is directing his own work that, as part of a collection of plays titled I Still Love You, won the 2006 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama.

There is an over-arching construct to the beginning and end of the play that allows the characters to see and talk to the audience directly. It seemed obvious to me, but others tell me they did not initially understand what was happening until the end of the play. Almost everyone takes the action literally, but it is equally interesting to consider the bear as a metaphor for fear. I know I am being cryptic, but I'm trying not be a spoiler.

Diane Brown and Colleen Wheeler play Mitch and Linda, who meet in a sporting goods store. Mitch's motor mouth paints her into a corner with a small lie, or "wishful thinking." But her basic good nature has her tracking Linda down at her job at the airport to ensure no one is hurt by what she previously said. Linda's somewhat cynical practicality initially classifies Mitch's approach as "lesbian." And indeed a night of drinking and talking (but, ultimately, being) leads to them sleeping together.

However, the rest of their decades-long journey through friendship and betrayal is not defined by sexuality — in fact their often humorous connection is more generally defined by what it is not than what it is. MacIvor may eschew labels, but his writing still rings true. When Linda asks Mitch "What are you so afraid of?" and Mitch deflects instead of answering directly, I wanted to shake her. That's a tribute to both MacIvor's accurate observation of human foibles and how well Brown and Wheeler play off each other.

My limited space and poor words don't do this production justice. You have three remaining chances to see the show. Don't miss it.


Ruby Slippers Production Society

1398 Cartwright St., Second Floor,

Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8

Phone 604-602-0585

Fax 604-602-0562