Presented by Moon Dinosaur Theatre
Directed by Andrew Young
You wouldn’t think that a play about a woman in a dinosaur onesie could make you cry, but give Paleoncology one hour and you may shed a tear too. Written and performed by UVic alumni Kira Hall, she plays Lea, a young woman dealing with the knowledge that her brother Daniel has untreatable cancer by turning to her childhood love of dinosaurs. Lea’s struggle to deal with something emotionally devastating has affected her on all levels, including her job. Her move back to her parents’ home isn’t met with warmth. They expect more out of life from their daughter — even more so now that their eldest child is terminally ill.
The performance transitions between scenes through the use of lighting cues; the one-on-one sessions with Lea’s therapist keep us current as the story unfolds, dinosaur toys being used as puppets act out stories from Lea’s past, and the educational slides on an overhead projector represent Lea’s subconscious.
Paleoncology is a smart and deeply moving piece. The script itself is peppered with Hall’s sense of dark comedy. Fortunately, there’s not enough to take the sentimentality of the narrative away and there’s just enough humour to prevent the script from becoming overly melodramatic.
Hall’s performance helps bring home a genuine feel of a family trying to mend broken fences. Her deadpan delivery reinforces the emotional distance she suffers during a difficult time.
For those who have never experienced someone having cancer, Hall’s solo show will still leave you with a deep impression. Audiences who are fortunate not to have known the disease admitted they were left in tears. For those who have lost a person close to them, Hall’s performance is more than just a play. It is therapy.
4 Blokes out 5
Continues at Victoria’s Downtown Activity Centre at 755 Pandora Avenue on:
Mon, Aug 25 • 7:45pm
Sat, Aug 30 • 9:00pm
Sun, Aug 31 • 12:15pm
Reprinted from Two Hungry Blokes.