Dramatic play touches on wartime politics and romance in 20th century Britain
George Brown Theatre School (GBTS) students opened the season dazzling in Victorian couture for The Cavalcade on Nov. 9, a stage drama on wartime politics and British romance.
Adapted from the original 1933 play by Noel Coward, director James Simon takes viewers on a walk through time engaging England during the first quarter of the 20th century. As audiences gasp, laugh and cry along with the cast, they watch the lives of the upper-class Marryot family, and their servants, the Bridges, unfold.
“It’s quite timeless, because it relates to us, because we’re also living at the turn of a century,” said Mike Ricci, who plays Robert Marryot in The Cavalcade. The play illustrates major events in British history around the Marryots, including, the death of Queen Victoria, the fate of the Titanic, as well as the impact of The First World War.
Currently in his final year at GBTS, Ricci explains that behind the spectacle of the play there’s a real human story. He describes Robert as a proud Victorian man who grew up at the peak of the Victorian age, and adds “he’s just a good man who cares about his family.”
Ricci explained Robert’s relationship with his wife, Jane Marryot (played by Lily Scriven) as “this bittersweet thing where they lose a lot, but they stayed together through it, which is a testament of how strong their marriage is. He loves his wife, and that sort of hit me.”
Scriven, also in her third year at GBTS, described The Cavalcade’s opening night as, “an opportunity to live the experience while sharing the journey with the audience.” Scriven enjoys watching Jane’s journey throughout the play, even when the character has conflicts with her husband over different views on war. Yet, Scriven said that Jane and Robert still respect each other.
“It’s been a wild ride, a lot of work, but I’ve been pretty lucky working with this amazing group,” Scriven said, reflecting on her GBTS career. Scriven added that despite the workload and pressure of the program, she never felt that she struggled by herself.
For students that are interested in theatre, Ricci said, “trusting yourself and letting your personality shine because that is what people are going to love.” Ricci also said to go big and fail miserably, because failure is the best tool to learn.
Upon graduation, Scriven intends to pursue independent projects in Toronto, and explore the city’s vibrant theatre scene while Ricci hopes to incorporate his classical theatre training into different mediums while sustaining a living by creating his own work.
The Cavalcade marches on until Nov. 19 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available by visiting youngcentre.ca or by calling the box office at 416-866-8666.