Theater; Just Because The Purge Production Confronts Human Trafficking In Canadian Debut Of The Play

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Live theater is perhaps the most intimate of the arts, but for the cast and crew at Purge, the nature of the production required the services of an intimacy coach to confront the emotions aroused by the play.

Purge, which makes its Canadian debut in a three-night race starting Thursday at the Keyano Theater, tackles the topics of human trafficking and sexual abuse, as well as Soviet occupation in Estonia. The first production to return after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions for the theater; Just Because also offers a mature dialogue. According to lead actress Jenny Price, the main characters are really horrible to each other.

The strain of the production, coupled with the play’s rehearsal during COVID-19 restrictions, meant that privacy trainer Alexandra Durocher was employed to help the actors with their sanity.

“We did a lot of work, not just to maintain physical security [due to COVID], but for our mental and emotional security, ”Price said. “We did this so as not to take those words and the subject matter that we said to ourselves and subconsciously take them home after rehearsal or production.”

Written by Finnish author Sofi Oksanen, Purge follows Price’s character Aliide Truu in the 1990s, when she finds a traumatized girl, Zara, played by Devki Patel, in her backyard. A victim of sex trafficking, Zara’s appearance prompts Aliide to reflect on her life, causing flashbacks to the 1950s and the years in Estonia after the Soviet occupation of World War II.

Director and producer Hanna Fridhed drew on her social work background to put together this production of Purge. She said this type of deep emotional production is not often seen in the Fort McMurray theater community.

“We do a lot of musicals and pranks, which is great, but we don’t always see dramas of this nature that touch and explore deeper human emotions and connections,” Fridhed said. “It’s a fantastic show with complex characters and I wanted to take this opportunity to bring something like that to Fort McMurray.”

With COVID-19 restrictions still limiting seats at the Keyano Theater to just 30% occupancy, the production will also be available virtually on demand from July 15 to 25. With tickets already sold in countries as far away as Australia, Fridhed said the on-demand availability of the play opens the Fort McMurray Theater to a global audience.

“We always brag about Fort McMurray’s theatrical and artistic community and very few people who haven’t been here believe us,” said Fridhed. “It’s a great opportunity to show that it’s quite diverse here and that we’re doing some very interesting things. ”

The purge is scheduled for July 15-17, 8 p.m., at the Keyano Theater. For tickets or access to the virtual show, visit the Theater; Site just because.

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