Daniel Cloake, Jenni Fischer and John Voth star in Theatre at TWU's production of The Lady's Not For Burning. Photo credit: Mike Rathjen

Langley, BC- The Trinity Western University Theatre season kicks off with Christopher Fry's acclaimed verse drama The Lady's Not For Burning which runs October 24 - November 3. A witty examination of prejudice, superstition and the value of life, this lyrical masterpiece is ultimately a charming romantic comedy.

Thomas Mendip is a disillusioned soldier who demands to be hanged for murder. Jennet Jourdemayne faces execution as a witch despite proclaiming her innocence. The social order is completely upended as science and religion, hope and despair, gravity and absurdity all face off when Thomas and Jennet meet.

"I think we can all relate to Thomas, because we've all wanted to change the world," says TWU theatre professor and director Aaron Caleb. "And I think we can all relate to Jennet because we've likely been accused of something we didn't do."

Caleb was drawn to the play because it approaches the dark side of life from a decidedly light perspective.

"Often the plays of greatest depth are those that deal with the gritty and bleak realities of our existence," Caleb says. "But in The Lady's Not for Burning, the playwright acknowledges those realities while piercing through them with hope and humour."

Working on the play has been a great challenge for TWU's student actors because Christopher Fry's language is so complex. The depth and poetry of his writing have drawn comparisons to Shakespeare, comparisons Caleb says, "are well earned."

"Shakespeare is popular partly because he meets people where they live and somehow elevates their concerns by expressing them in such rich, evocative language. Fry does the same thing," says Caleb.

The poetic language does not distance the characters or story from our lives in the 21st century, however; it serves the comedy. Fry's work is clever, witty, ironical and beautifully subtle. Yet some of the characters are so broadly drawn as to be almost farcical, so there is great variety in the humour.

"Because the play is a romance and a comedy, we can relax and enjoy the absurdity of it all," says Caleb. "I think that allows us to consider the weighty issues of the play with a most receptive frame of mind. We get to have fun and learn at the same time. What more could you want?"

The TWU production features Thomas Gage as Thomas and Katherine Gauthier as Jennet, with Daniel Cloake, Jenni Fischer, Christopher Nash, Matthew Nauta, Melodie Ngo, Laura Taylor, Laura Van Dyke and John Voth. Set and lighting design are by Lauchlin Johnston, costume design is by Naomi Sider and the stage manager is Shay McCleary.

For more information and tickets, go to www.twu.ca/theatre or email theatre@twu.ca.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 39 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music to business, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 15 graduate degrees include such areas as counseling psychology, business, theology, administrative leadership and interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history.


Last Updated: 2007-11-07
Author: Angela Konrad