Suspense thriller tackles teen violence
Evie's Waltz delves into youth violence and inter-generational tensions
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 06:00 am
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Teenagers, bullying and high-powered rifles. It’s a heavy-duty flammable mix that can easily spin of control.
And it does in the Canadian premiere of Evie’s Waltz, American playwright Carter Lewis’ suspenseful thriller opening Thursday, Jan. 24 at Varscona Theatre.
A Shadow Theatre production directed by John Hudson, Evie’s Waltz examines the contemporary prevalence of youth violence, who bears responsibility and the disconnect between adolescents and parents.
“As a parent I felt what parents go through, and yet found understanding for what young people get into,” says Hudson, who first heard of the show two years ago.
“When I create a season I try to have a lot of balance with comedy and drama. This is one play that has a lot of suspense and meat.”
Evie's Waltz explores the meltdown of the nuclear family. Clay and Gloria Matthews are living every parent’s nightmare. Danny, their unsociable son, has been expelled from school for bringing a handgun. He is being bullied but they are unaware of it until now. What starts as a typical family barbecue, including Danny’s accomplice/girlfriend Evie, escalates into a frightening dance of predator and prey.
“Certainly all will be shocked by what happens. But it’s a play that addresses issues of family and violence in a thoughtful way,” Hudson explains.
Clay (Doug Mertz) and Gloria (Coralie Cairns) are upper middle class parents who enjoy a certain amount of privilege, yet understand the meaning of hard work. When the family is trapped in crisis, Clay tries holding everything together.
“He puts a positive spin on things and works to resolve it,” Hudson says.
Gloria, on the other hand, is a woman who wanted to fashion the perfect family, and sees her dream crumbling.
“She’s fed up. She wants to wash her hands of Danny. She rejects her son. For her enough is enough. That’s where the conflict comes in.”
The parents also have issues with Evie, the street-wise teen who doesn’t fit into the mainstream. Evie is played by Karyn Mott, a University of Alberta bachelor of fine arts student who also took part in the International Children’s Festival project Beyond the Frame. She likens Evie to a “Demi Moore GI Jane. She wears camo pants, a black top and big black boots.”
“She’s been through a lot in life,” Mott adds. “She relates to Danny and falls in love with him. She’s smart and understands the situation. She feels his pain.”
Evie’s attraction to Danny is based on mutual need, Mott explains.
“He’s got a sensitive soul and takes care of her. It’s something she’s missed and they both have been traumatized. Her father left when she was 12. Her mother is an alcoholic and she has never felt unconditional love.”
In a play such as this one, it’s all too easy for the playwright to point fingers. But in an explosion of teen violence, who really shoulders the responsibility?
“Carter Lewis doesn’t place the blame on anyone, but shows both sides. At the end, you won’t have an answer, but you will have a deeper understanding.”