The King’s Theatrical Society produced their second show of the season in the Pit this week. The ambitious double bill featured Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” and “Cowboy Mouth” by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith. First year actors, first time directors and fresh faces in a sold-out audience made for an exciting first night for both plays.
“Cowboy Mouth” is directed by Tanis Smither and stage-managed by Sam Wally. It stars Cavale, a flighty “surrealist magnification” of Patti Smith, and her lover, Slim, played by Nick Grabstas. Maya Stewart Pathak plays Cavale, whose daydreams, quick licks for lines and convincing adoration of a dead black crow called Raymond were enthralling.
Her favourite part of playing the role was “getting to zone out,” said Stewart Pathak. “People were watching me and not being mad about my zoning out.”
Cavale and her “rock and roll Jesus,” Slim, had the audience thoroughly entertained. Stewart Pathak rolled through her lines (such as “Lets hit some hot licks on the fender, we’re going out for a shrimp cocktail,”) with a mystifying abandonment of reality.
“Who wants to listen to something uninspired?” Cavale asks herself. Though the audience was never sure if she was speaking to herself or Slim, or her dead crow Raymond or even the air.
Emmett Watters, the Rock and Roll Saint’s music filled the space between reality and imagination.
“Betrayal,” directed by Danielle Adessky and stage-managed by Maya Lester, begins with Emma wearing pearls and Jerry, shirt unbuttoned, sitting down for a drink two years after parting ways as lovers. Emma, played by Alex McVittie, and Jerry by Mark Nicol, take the audience backwards in time through their affair.
Robert is Emma’s husband, and Jerry, Emma’s lover, was his best man. Connor Somers, who plays Robert, shows the audience aspects of his character with the slight push of his glasses up his nose and sharp delivery of the letter “t” at the end of his words.
Quips back and forth, glazed conversations, a habit of forgetfulness from Jerry and nuanced vodka drinking during pregnancy from Emma all allude to the complicated nature of lovers and friends. The “hidden emotions and underlying tones” of “sadness, abandonments and loneliness,” says Adessky, enable the audience to pick up on the greater messages of the play.
Tying the two plays together was Brianna Dunn, who played the waiter in “Betrayal” and the stunned lobsterman in “Cowboy Mouth.”
Light and sound design for both plays was done by the show’s co-producer, Zach Greenham. Kate Newhook was the board operator, and Danielle McCreadie was in charge of costumes. Makeup was done by Clarice Diabold and Zoë Brimacombe.
There was “novelty and freshness” in all aspects of the production said Meg Collins, co-producer. “Not having one specific guiding influence opened up the opportunity to create something fresh and new.”