Canadian Play of the Month – THAT ELUSIVE SPARK

by admin on March 14, 2019

The revival of Janet Munsil’s play is up and running to appreciative audiences at Victoria’s Langham Court Theatre.

The story of Phineas Gage’s gruesome accident in 1848 which drove an iron spike through his brain and his miraculous survival is interleaved with a modern story about a neuropsychologist having a nervous breakdown. Both of them survive but both are changed by the experience.

The play explores attitudes to the whole mind/brain question in the Victorian era and today, that continue to intrigue us and how we cope with the way life changes us, slowly but inexorably.

I happened to be reading Nobel prize scientist Eric Kandel’s IN SEARCH OF MEMORY, who approaches the brain/mind from the viewpoint of a molecular biologist seeking answers to how memory is stored by the brain. It’s a fascinating and very readable account which makes THAT ELUSIVE SPARK even more enjoyable and intriguing.

It deserves a wider audience. See it if you can.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

janie morris March 15, 2019 at 12:09 am

I experienced the play at Langham Court Theatre.To my mind the plusses were the innovative handling of a true story weaving it with a modern rendering of todays angst.I appreciated the creative writing.However the plays structure fell apart in the final act with the to and fro between the time lines.This type of writing requires smooth rapid set changes which the Langham production did not achieve. The Directors use of black outs and the on and off placing of small set pieces slowed the momentum and spoiled the ending.

admin March 19, 2019 at 11:04 pm

I agree, Janie. Some good acting tho…

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