Last night, the house was packed for Atom Egoyan’s return to the theatre: the acclaimed Canadian filmmaker has taken the helm of a wrenching performance of Cruel and Tender. Martin Crimp’s play brings Sophocles’sTrachiniae into a modern setting—the audience is invited into the home of Amelia as she waits tensely for her husband, The General, to return from battle. The play unravels at an organic pace, forcing the audience to engage fully in the world crafted by Crimp and Egoyan.
Fans looking for a heavy-handed directorial performance from Egoyan will walk away disappointed—he (wisely) lets his stunning performers and strong script speak for themselves. Beyond his trademark ability to inspire excellent work from his actors, Egoyan incorporates video and inspired staging to bring this weighty tale to life.
The content of the play, about a man accused of war crimes and the family who wait in privilege and isolation for his return, requires deft directing and committed performing to keep it afloat, and with a few wobbles, this production succeeds. Definitely a must-see.
Cruel and Tender runs until February 18th. For info and tickets, click here.
~ Haley Cullingham