Island Stage Left presents: ‘The Children’

  • Thu Nov 14th, 2019 1:30am
  • Life
John Sinclair/contributed photos

John Sinclair/contributed photos

Submitted by Island Stage Left

An aging but active couple live in a cottage by the sea after a natural disaster has ruined their cherished retirement project, an organic dairy farm. It has also wrecked the surrounding area, including a nuclear power plant where they once worked. But they seem set to recover, and live forever on yogurt and yoga, when a friend from the distant past arrives, unannounced and uninvited. She brings up a lot of old feelings — but is that why she has come? Oh, no. It’s really something else, something utterly unexpected — and deeply disturbing.

Island Stage Left is thrilled to present Lucy Kirkwood’s extraordinary play “The Children,” which opened Friday, Nov. 8 for free at the San Juan County Fairgrounds. True to its mission to present the best-written, most inspiring plays of our time, Island Stage Left obtained the rights to this powerful new story ahead of its presentation at major theaters on the West Coast.

“It’s incredibly well-written. It has a movement to it that keeps the audience enthralled, really,” ISL Director Helen Machin-Smith said. “It has lots of sub-plots and surprises, and it’s a serious subject but it’s dealt with in so many ways that it makes it entertaining as well.”

The plot is tantalizingly unpredictable. All three characters are retired nuclear engineers, which might not lead you to expect the amount of laughter in the plot — nor the disco dance routine. The initial scenes seem to lay the groundwork for a well-crafted eco-thriller, with characters reunited after nearly 40 years taking funny (sometimes cranky) pot-shots at each other, as they get reacquainted. But the mysterious visitor twists things into a brand-new shape when she finally reveals the mission she’s on. She stuns her old friends with a frightening proposition — one made urgent by new developments in the eco-disaster plot, which has kept ticking along the whole time in the background.

At the play’s heart is the future of generations yet to come, and that future seems to hang on how the retired couple reacts to their old friend’s request. The question that hangs in the air, of course, is: “What would you do?”

“I think it is so pertinent to the whole question of what we owe the next generation,” Machin-Smith said. “Being the age that I am I’m more and more conscious of what we leave behind us.”

“The Children” premiered in London and New York. The play was awarded the Critics’ Circle, Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best New Play and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for best play in the English language by a female playwright. Kirkwood has also won the “Most Promising Playwright” Award in the UK. Her work has been performed at the Royal Court Theatre, in London’s West End and on Broadway.

Prominent Seattle actresses Lori Larsen and Therese Diekhans join Daniel Mayes as the cast for ISL’s fall play “The Children,” which runs Nov. 8 through Dec. 8 in the Marie Boe Building at the San Juan County Fairgrounds.

Check out the show at 7:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, and at 4 p.m. on Sunday through Dec. 8. There is no show on Nov. 28, as it is Thanksgiving. For more information, call 360-378-5649 or visit www.islandstageleft.org.

Thereafter: Thursdays – Saturdays 7:30pm , Sundays 4:00pm

No show on November 28 (Thanksgiving)

Further information: (360) 378-5649 or www.islandstageleft.org.

 

John Sinclair/contributed photos

John Sinclair/contributed photos

John Sinclair/contributed photos

John Sinclair/contributed photos

John Sinclair/contributed photos

John Sinclair/contributed photos