SAMC Theatre conjures up dazzling fantasy
Dads and kids have been butting heads since the 17th century, it seems. Offering a magical take on the pitfalls of parenting, The Illusion tells the tale of one man’s search to be reunited with his son before it’s too late. Onstage at Trinity Western University from October 21 to November 1, this fantasy adventure brings together action, romance, and a powerful story about family.
Long ago, in a fairy-tale land far away, a grieving father asks a mysterious illusionist to show him the life of his prodigal son, banished for 15 years. In the dazzling illusion that follows, we watch the struggle of our young hero, Calisto. As he fights to make his fortune and win the woman he loves, Calisto must dodge the perils of an unforgiving world—and the consequences of his own mistakes.
Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, The Illusion is an acclaimed adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s popular 17th century comedy, L’Illusion Comique. Combining elegant poetry with punchy humour and wit, the play feels classic and contemporary at the same time.
“This show is somewhere between The Princess Bride and Pirates of the Caribbean,” said actor Bryan Sandberg, who provides plenty of comic relief as the laughable lunatic Matamore. With swordfighting, scheming, and suspense, The Illusion captures the imagination and delights the senses.
The show is the TWU directorial debut for Kate Muchmore, MFA, a Langley resident who joined the faculty of the School of the Arts, Media + Culture in fall 2013. Muchmore was drawn to the play by its mysterious blurring of the lines between dream and reality, its stirring language, and its central question about the nature of love.
“Love is so complicated, yet so simple,” said Muchmore. “The playwright does a marvelous job of illustrating the many faces of love, pushing us to question the obvious and accept the ambiguous. And he does this by telling a beautiful fairy tale about family and forgiveness. It’s magical!”
Sponsored by Great-West Life, The Illusion stars Corben James, Jenessa Galbraith, Sharra Ganzeveld, Emily Herbison, Audrey Herold, Keenan Marchand, Bryan Sandberg, and William Tippery. Set design is by Sarah Melo, costumes by Christopher David Gauthier, and lighting by Lauren Stewart. The show is stage managed by Margaret Thorpe with assistant direction by Matthew Wigmore.
Playing October 21 through November 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, with 2:00 p.m. Saturday matinees. Join us on the second Tuesday for a Q&A talkback with the cast.