By Mackenzie Kristjon Jenkyns
Published July 21, 2014
The first of many fringe plays I have seen thus far was the opening night for A Home For Margaret.
Anyone (and by "anyone" I mean increasingly everyone) has dealt with family members who, for one reason or another, find themselves in a retirement home. Clearly this has an impact on the entire family in terms of both their current realities and also their memories of the past and it is these themes that David Fraser's script explores.
The play itself has a minimalist set (a few chairs and table) and minimal lighting effects and as such relies primarily on the dialogue and interplay between the four characters, Margaret and Robert - the aging parents, their daughter, and the intern at the facility.
As the play went along, I found myself drawn into the characters in unexpected ways. The fact that the set was so small on such a large stage emphasized the feeling of being confined, which was reiterated in the dialogue as Patti Cannon's character Margaret referred to this new environment as a prison.
Luis Arrojo's Robert was a perfect foil and completely believable as a resigned, fairly practical husband who deals with a cantankerous wife that he loves but cannot placate.
Margaret continually plots to leave the facility and is riddled with memories of past homes where she feels things could have gone slightly more right and perhaps caused them to avoid this unenviable fate of life, in what she imagines is a prison where her daughter doesn't want her (not true), her freedom is lacking (slightly more true), and the staff will not bow down to her every whim (completely unrealistic).
A poignant script with a timely theme. A Home For Margaret is home sweet home at the Citadel Theatre.
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