Pig Girl roars defiance
By Byron Toben
Pig Girl, by much honoured Canadian playwright Colleen Murphy, is an imaginary tale drawing on the terrible revelations of the Pickton pig farm killings of 49 women some ten years ago.
It is intended to create an emotional reaction, and that it does in spades, as well as razors and hooks.
Graham Cuthbertson impresses with his role of the sexually repressed, bad joking, inferiority complexed serial killer. Julie Tamiko Manning as the sister of the Dying Girl (Reneltta Arluk) brings a steely persistence as she tries to persuade the authorities, represented by a police officer (Marcelo Arroyo) to instigate a major search for her missing sister, an addicted young First Nations prostitute.
The play is in some respects a Greek tragedy where the authorities are limited by lack of evidence, sloppy follow-ups and many other priorities to appreciate the scope of the missing women. That many were of native Canadian background brought outright or subliminal prejudices into play.
The play is in some respects a Greek tragedy where the authorities are limited by lack of evidence, sloppy follow-ups and many other priorities to appreciate the scope of the missing women.
Pig Girl premiered in Edmonton two years ago, then was mounted in London UK and in Guelph Ontario.
Imago theatre continues the tradition established by founder Clare Schapiro in bringing potent and provocative plays to the Montreal public. Director Micheline Chevrier exercises a deft hand in preventing some scenes from becoming mere slasher movie evocations. Ms Arluk nails the victim role with as much fortitude as can be expected in a dire situation.
This production, supported by the wonderful theatre-friendly Cole foundation, has two unique features:
• There is an audience talk back after every show.
• Viewers only “Pay What You Decide” after each show. No minimum.
Pig Girl continues at the Centaur until February 6.
Tickets: 514 288-3161 and at centaurtheatre.com/pig-girl
Images: Tristan Brand
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club.