Vancouver Fringe Festival review: Guernica brings painting to life

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Guernica the play is handsome in many ways, but it doesn¹t deliver narrative satisfaction.

Pablo Picasso's 1937 painting of the same name depicts the market-day bombing of a Basque village during the Spanish Civil War and emphasizes the wartime agonies suffered by civilians. Playwright Erika Luckert does the same by bringing figures from the painting to life. Her writing is often poetically sensual: a fruit vendor says, "Every day I arrange the fruit in my stall to match the colours of the sunrise I see on the way to work." Luckert's writing is also insightful: "If I felt the fingers of the men," a prostitute explains, "I would hate myself as much as the other women hate me." The performances in this production are all warmly dignified and director Jon Lachlan Stewart, designer Kevin Boyer, and the writer effectively use lighting and flash-forwards. But, because neither the characters nor their relationships significantly change, the material repeats itself on the way to its inevitable conclusion.

At the Waterfront Theatre on September 9 (7:05 p.m.), 10 (5:15 p.m.), 12 (10:20 p.m.), 14 (8:55 p.m.), and 15 (2:10 p.m.).
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