|A glance, a sigh, a resigned drop of the shoulders.
Such is the actor's craft and such is Theatre Smith-Gilmour's droll approach to storytelling.
In their previous homages to Chekhov's writing among them, their productions of Chekhov's shorts, Chekhov longs...In the Ravine, and Chekhov's Heartache the troupe successfully delivered a series of these inventive plays, in pure actor style.
Now with Katherine Mansfield's short stories as source material, a similarly rich fictional world has been mounted onto the stage by these four equally active actors.
The play begins with a burial. Two men in black mime the flinging of earth from shovels, and almost in passing, the grieving Josephine (Claire Calnon) asks her sister, Constanzia, whether their father was properly buried.
"Was it the way father wanted it?"
The quiet Constanzia (Michelle Smith) swallows her response some would say she 'internalizes' and we move on.
But this small moment is a significant detail a punctum in the sober scene.
Minutes later, in a swift jab of macabre, as father's head pops out from the black hearse to rant loudly about just how badly he's been treated, we're yanked into this weird time-out-of-joint moment, and we laugh.
As in Chekhov's world, Katherine Mansfield's focus is on life's fleeting moments; specifically, the lives of the English bourgeoisie in which a leisurely parade of funerals, breakfasts, kids at play, and boat cruises pass through. Nothing, it seems, ever happens.