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Diana Brings Another Dimension To Henry And Alice Story

January 18, 2013

 

Aside from the obvious, a change in location that shifts the scene dramatically from a luxury hotel to the deep dark woods, what distinguishes Henry and Alice: Into The Wild from its predecessor, Sexy Laundry, is that playwright Michele Riml has added a third character, a free spirit named Diana.

Diana is Alice’s sister, and thus Henry’s sister-in-law, and her presence has a profound effect on the structure of the play in terms of its dynamics. Whereas in Sexy Laundry the interaction/confrontation was strictly head to head between Henry and Alice, with Into The Wild it becomes, ascell they say in sports, a round robin, involving Henry and Alice, Alice and Diana, Diana and Henry.

“She (meaning Riml) has put quite a lot into it,” says Valerie Ann Pearson, who is directing a Globe production that features Daryl Shuttleworth as Henry, Jan Alexandra Smith as Alice, and Natascha Girgis as Diana.

Through downsizing, Henry has lost his job, and a great deal of his self-respect. Alice is concerned about both her husband and a teenage son who may (or may not be) using recreational drugs. Henry and Alice are at a point in their marriage where “for better or worse” is the operative phrase. Henry and Diana are proof positive that opposites do not necessarily attract. And as for Alice and Diana, well, Alice and Diana are … sisters.

hookThere are dysfunctional relationships galore, but the characters are endearing and sympathetic, because, rather than throwing up their arms and giving in, as happens so often these days, they persist in finding solutions, largely through improved communication.

“The charm of it is, they’re working on it,” Pearson says. “The themes of this play are timely, valid, affecting, and the strength of the writing is in extremely recognizable characters. If we do our jobs well, you will care about them, and if you care about them, the story is hilarious.”

Henry And Alice: Into The Wild runs from January 23 – February 10, 2013. Visit the Globe Theatre website for more details, cast information, and to purchase tickets. 

Nick Miliokas is a freelance writer and editor based in Regina. You can reach him by email at rozenstern@rocketmail.com.

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