Splendour runs October 28 to November 5, 2016 at the University Theatre | Photo: Tim Nguyen


Creative and Performing Arts launches drama season with gripping political play

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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In a magnificent presidential home on the day of the revolutionary overthrow, four women wait for an absent dictator while imminent danger looms just outside the window.

The University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts presents the western Canadian premiere of Abi Morgan’s Splendour.

In it we meet the dictator’s wife Micheleine, her best friend Genevieve, kleptomaniac translator Gilma, and international photojournalist  Kathryn. As they wait they drink and their inhibitions loosen, the narrative forms from fragmented pieces offered throughout repetitions of the events and revelations.

“In other words—the audience’s understanding of the story is acquired by sifting through layers as each resetting of scene reveals deeper, darker, more hidden, more personal information about each character,” explains director Dawn McCaugherty in a statement. “One metaphor I’ve used with designers and actors is that of the depiction of human anatomy in a childhood encyclopedia, where flipping through transparencies removed first the skin, revealing the muscles, then the circulatory system, then the nervous system, then the organs and finally the bones. In Splendour, the innermost workings of the characters and their relationships are exposed in much the same way. The end result, for me at least, is an appreciation of each of these women, and an understanding of what makes them ‘tick’, whether that be laudable or deplorable.”

Splendour runs October 28 to November 5, 2016 at the University Theatre, University of Calgary (230 University Court NW).