Forget the 3D glasses — The Seventh Seal will have you on the edge of your seat, swivelling your head in every direction. No need for a backstage pass or binoculars when you are literally sitting on stage, an arm’s length away from the actors.
“You are so close,” says Brefny Caribou-Curtin, the theatre student playing the part of Lady Death. “The people there are within spitting distance.”
From Oct. 18 to 21 in the D.B Clarke theatre, Concordia’s theatre students will perform an adaptation, written and directed by Jennifer H. Capraru, of Ingmar Bergman’s well-known film The Seventh Seal.
After fighting for so long in the crusade, a noble knight named Antonius Block questions the existence of God and his own humanity. The protagonist, played by Marc-Antoine Kelertas, encounters Lady Death on his return home. He challenges her to a game of chess in order that he might have more time, as he isn’t ready to die. With his life at stake, every move can be fatal.
“As an actor you try to be faithful to the character and put yourself aside,” says Kelertas. “But I wanted to step away from the stereotype. I wanted to play his torment.” The interpretation is a success as Kelertas inserts his own sensitivity into the character.
In this journey, accompanied by his squire, Antonius Block discovers that his country has been hit by the plague. In a race against time, he encounters many memorable characters, such as a circus company, a witch about to be burned, and a jolly couple. They guide him home as well as help him find the answers to his doubts.
Usually it’s just the actors under the spotlight — now it’s you. Rather than passively sitting in the audience, you are engaged and involved in this story. You can literally see the actor’s joy, anger and misery as they frolic and fight, embrace and cry right in front of you.
The actors off-stage are behind and beside you, still performing and participating in the sonic effects, along with the live music carried out by students of Concordia’s music department. The immense energy of this will bring chills up and down your spine.
Theatre-in-the-round heightens the action and emotion on stage, creating an intimate and at times uncomfortable experience. Not only are you watching the actors, but the audience as well.
“It creates a whole new sense of being in the story. The actors can’t just pretend. The audience is all around,” says Caribou-Curtin. “It’s the best and most enthralling challenge I have experienced so far.”
The Seventh Seal opens Oct. 18-21 at the D.B. Clarke Theatre, 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. $10 regular, $5 for seniors and students