Review: Happy Place a powerful story
PTE's November performance rich with strong, all-woman cast
There’s a lot to like about Prairie Theatre Exchange’s latest play, Happy Place – and a lot to talk about afterwards. Winnipeg-born playwright Pamela Mala Sinha offers us a look at how seven different women are coping with their own individual traumas. It’s a mix of heavy topics shared between cast members, each story deserving more time than the 2-hour performance can offer.
(From L-R: Daina Leitold, Alicia Johnston, Jan Skene, Hazel Venzon, Darla Contois. Photo credit: Leif Norman)
The all-woman cast nimbly brings the script to life, each bringing personality and empathy to their roles. It’s rare to find a performance that pivots so quickly between laughter and sadness, but this ensemble will take you there – with some particularly saucy punchlines from Megan McArton’s character Mildred. As well, a special shoutout to PTE’s new artistic director, Thomas Morgan Jones, who stepped into the director’s role for Happy Place and keeps a sharp pace throughout.
Like all too many trauma cases, there’s no happy ending or resolution in Happy Place – and in fact, the audience may be searching for something in the plot that will never appear. We don’t get the full story of any of the characters, but that’s how it should be, frustrating though it may be for audiences looking for defined answers. With her script, Sinha is showing us the difficulty of moving on and healing from trauma – it’s not the same experience for anyone, with no simple resolution and a daily struggle to find a path forward. In the end, the audience is left with more questions than answers, but lots to talk about and think about for days afterwards. And that’s a conversation well worth having.
(From L-R: Darla Contois, Paula Potosky, Alicia Johnston, Hazel Venzon, Megan McArton. Photo credit: Leif Norman)
Happy Place runs until November 25. Get your tickets today!