Reviews & Previews

Trench Patterns at Bain St. Michel: Good intentions clash with ideology

Trench Patterns runs till Nov. 18.

The audience walks into the intimate confines of Infinitheatre and sees her, the central figure in Trench Patterns, lying on a hospital bed.

The backlit screen showing the cross on Mount Royal above a mound of trees and hospital sounds suggest it’s the Royal Vic. Scenes of combat fill the backdrop, with the sound of shells exploding, as Canadian Forces captain Jacqueline awakes.

We learn that she lost her right leg during combat in Afghanistan as her psychiatrist arrives to announce she’ll be getting her prosthetic limb the next day.

Her pain is mental as well as physical. Her great-grandfather Jacques, who also served in the Canada military, met a different fate in the War to End All Wars. All this is set out in the opening scenes from the tautly written new play by Alyson Grant, chair of English at Dawson College, deftly directed by the theatre’s artistic director, Guy Sprung.

We don’t find out until the end what really happened in the clash that led to Jacqueline losing her leg. It is a complex situation where good intentions clash with ideology.

The audience shares in her angst and sense of guilt about the death of Private Lacombe, who served under her command. She proclaims she’s done her duty, but also expresses guilt.

We also learn the grim truth of Jacques’s death, as he continues to reappear in her dreams, providing another vision of armed conflict and the sanctity of life.

We are led to ponder the moral issues inherent in military service: Follow orders or your conscience? Do your duty or opt for life?

Patricia Summersett is a standout, avoiding histrionics as her character copes with post-traumatic stress disorder and offers observations that ripple with alternating cynicism and pathos. Diane Fajrajal is believable as the Jacqueline’s doting mother while Zach Fraser as the grandfather and James Soares-Correia in multiple roles seamlessly weave in and out of scenes.

The play won Infinitheatre’s 2011 Write-on-Q! competition and was among six plays chosen from among 400 for the fall 2012 Festival of Staged Readings at Chicago’s Artemisia Theatre.

Trench Patterns continues to November 18 at Bain St-Michel, 5300 St. Dominique. $20-$25, seniors. 514-987-1774, ext. 104. Irwin Block

The audience walks into the intimate confines of Infinitheatre and sees her, the central figure in Trench Patterns, lying on a hospital bed.

The backlit screen showing the cross on Mount Royal above a mound of trees and hospital sounds suggest it’s the Royal Vic. Scenes of combat fill the backdrop, with the sound of shells exploding, as Canadian Forces captain Jacqueline awakes.

We learn that she lost her right leg during combat in Afghanistan as her psychiatrist arrives to announce she’ll be getting her prosthetic limb the next day.

Her pain is mental as well as physical. Her great-grandfather Jacques, who also served in the Canada military, met a different fate in the War to End All Wars. All this is set out in the opening scenes from the tautly written new play by Alyson Grant, chair of English at Dawson College, deftly directed by the theatre’s artistic director, Guy Sprung.

We don’t find out until the end what really happened in the clash that led to Jacqueline losing her leg. It is a complex situation where good intentions clash with ideology.

The audience shares in her angst and sense of guilt about the death of Private Lacombe, who served under her command. She proclaims she’s done her duty, but also expresses guilt.

We also learn the grim truth of Jacques’s death, as he continues to reappear in her dreams, providing another vision of armed conflict and the sanctity of life.

We are led to ponder the moral issues inherent in military service: Follow orders or your conscience? Do your duty or opt for life?

Patricia Summersett is a standout, avoiding histrionics as her character copes with post-traumatic stress disorder and offers observations that ripple with alternating cynicism and pathos. Diane Fajrajal is believable as the Jacqueline’s doting mother while Zach Fraser as the grandfather and James Soares-Correia in multiple roles seamlessly weave in and out of scenes.

The play won Infinitheatre’s 2011 Write-on-Q! competition and was among six plays chosen from among 400 for the fall 2012 Festival of Staged Readings at Chicago’s Artemisia Theatre.

Trench Patterns continues to November 18 at Bain St-Michel, 5300 St. Dominique. $20-$25, seniors. 514-987-1774, ext. 104.

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