There’s a whiff of mystery floating around the premiere of Cause and Effect, Teatro La Quindicina’s exciting new thrill ride.
Opening on Thursday, May 30 for a two-week run, it introduces four unassuming characters thrown into 15-minutes of international intrigue by a seemingly innocuous moment.
Playwright-director Stewart Lemoine, renowned nationally for his stylized productions, places this suspenseful event in Edmonton, more specifically around Gateway Boulevard and 51 Street, a grid he knows very well.
The play starts off innocently enough. Preston Tate (Jeff Haslam), a rather inconspicuous geographer, visits his dry cleaner to pick up a coat. He discovers the dry cleaner has permanently shut its doors, and goes to a nearby men’s store to buy a new coat.
In this brewing storm, former local drama instructor Eric Wigston is Tim, the men’s wear clerk hoping to discover more from life. Added to the acting quartet is Gwen (Davina Stewart), Preston’s hot-blooded wife, and Giuliana Hirsch, an exotic visitor in town to write hotel reviews.
“The premise for this play started after a similar incident happened to a friend of mine in New York. His drycleaner closed and the owners disappeared. They owed back taxes and had debts and they couldn’t deal with it anymore,” Lemoine says.
In Cause and Effect, the closing of the dry cleaners, Lemoine further explains, is simply the catalyst.
“It’s what leads the guy in picking up the coat and having a different experience. He has to buy a different coat and one thing leads to another and things get thrown off and everything gets derailed.”
Wigston, an actor in three previous Lemoine productions – The Addlepated Nixie, On the Banks of the Nut, and The Adulteress – suggests the script’s popular vernacular has an unusual poetic quality.
“I love it. I find it really challenging. You’re given so many words. It’s elaborate and yet so well put together. Stewart’s words get the point across. There’s usually dialogue you don’t hear anymore. But it’s so funny. We can never get through a full rehearsal without cracking up,” chuckles Wigston.
Wigston is cagey about his character, but will say that as founder of Gourmet Granola, an ongoing summer vendor at St. Albert Farmers’ Market, he applied his business knowhow to Tim’s background.
“I’m sorry. I’m not trying to confuse you. I’m just trying to keep an air of mystery.”
But he quickly adds, “It’ll be hilarious. It’s a Stewart Lemoine mystery that will keep you guessing. And if you’re from Edmonton, the city references will make you giggle.”
Cause and Effect
Teatro La Quindicina
May 30 to June 15
10329 – 83 Avenue
Tickets: Regular $28, students/seniors $23, Saturday matinee $16, Tuesday pay-what-you-can. Call 780-420-1757 or purchase online at www.tixonthesquare.ca