Taryn had tickets last night for the Arts Club’s Homechild, so she selected me to accompany her! All in all, the play was pretty good, with an amazing set. The perfomances, on the whole, were decent enough, slightly verging on sketch comedy personifications at times, with an overdrawn Scottish accent drifting in and out. Duncan Fraser, as aged homechild, Alistair, was a knockout. He was fantastic. If it weren’t for his tight, insular performance (only heightened after the character suffers a stroke), the rest of the ensemble would have bordered on farce.
As a script, Joan MacLeod’s play takes on the familiar trope of the uncomfortable unearthing of past family secrets and shadows and applies it to an aspect of Canadian history usually swept under the rug: home children. I must admit, I felt somewhat ashamed to find myself ignorant of this part of our history. Perhaps most home children found themselves out east, and thus there isn’t much history here in BC? I will definitely research it further.
While the conventions of the play did not seem overly original at first, I found that the ambition of the play lies in bringing history to light, rather than artistic innovation. With that in mind, the play is entertaining and accesible to any audience. It did not explicitly inform, but notified, urging you to find out more for yourself, much the same way Lorna must seek out Alistair’s long lost sister, Katie. Cliched, but worth it.