Three lives entangle
around the care of an infant

Other People’s Children details problems with immigrant live-in caretakers

By Byron Toben

Ottawa-bred and National Theatre School grad playwright Hannah Moscovitch burst on the scene in 2005 with the first of her 15 produced plays.

Considered one of Canada’s leading young dramatists, she has won many awards and nominations, including the first Trillium literary prize ever given for a play (her ninth, This is War).

Other People’s Children - WestmountMag.caNow Imago Theatre, which specializes in feminist themes, brings her eighth work, Other People’s Children, to the local stage (a Quebec premiere).

This 90-minute effort (no intermission) involves a professional couple, businessman Ben (Brett Donahue) and wife lawyer Ilana (Kathleen Stavert) whose busy lives now require a live-in “nanny” to attend to their 9-month-old child, Eva.

A “nanny” agency sends over a Sri Lankan woman, Sati (Asha Vijayasingham), an engineer trained woman whose poverty has led her to leave her own children in Asia and take on this “amah” position in North America.

Such characters have been in world literature ever since Telemachus was nursed by Eurycleia while his father, Ulysses, was off fighting in the Trojan War.

Ben’s business affairs may not have been so demanding as those of the ancient Greek, but Ilana’s patience is not so endless as that of Penelope.

Under the deft direction of Micheline Chevrier, credible details add up as the initial welcome devolves into a situation where Ilana becomes jealous of Eva’s seeming consideration of Sati as her real mother.

Considered one of Canada’s leading young dramatists, she (Moscovitch) has won many awards and nominations, including the first Trillium literary prize ever given for a play…

Movement Director Leslie Baker made not only some grappling scenes believable, but also some minute touches in this split scene set (deluxe bathroom and maid’s extra bedroom) richer.

Thanks to Imago’s creator Claire Schapiro (still a Board member) for handing over the reins a few years ago to folk capable of keeping the mission alive.

Other People’s Children - WestmountMag.caThis play has talkbacks after every performance, each with a different panellist. In addition, the show has A Pay What You Decide policy before or after. (Other groups feature What You Want or Can.)

This play at the rented Centaur is not to be confused with the Centaur’s own play, The Children, which runs November 6 to 25.

Imago’s next production Elsewhere is back at the Centaur on January 24 to 27.

Ms Moscovitch’s 15th play Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story appears at the Segal Centre December 4 to 16.

Other People’s Children continues at the Centaur until November 4.
514 274-3222 or imagotheatre.ca

Images: courtesy of Image Theatre

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Read also: Abigail/1702 examines Crucible ten years later

Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club.

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