Taproot Theatre has reopened in their own location with style and flourish.
New carpets and a new paint job aren’t all that is new at Taproot. The cast brought a vivacious interpretation to C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. This production is a risk, due to the deep nature of the material, but Taproot is up to the task. They use incredible costuming, seasoned actors, and puppets to take us to another time and place – that place between heaven and hell.
Perhaps the most poignant scene of the entire production was when actor Ryan Childers played a man who was tormented by a demon/lizard of sorts, played by puppettress Kim Morris. The pair did an incredible job as they interacted with the Fire Angel, played by Pam Nolte (whose costume was spectacular). Who among us has not had a pet obsession that we knew God wanted to free us from, yet we feared the consequences?
David Dorrian, new to Seattle, played C.S. Lewis, and one of my favorite actors, Nolan Palmer played one of my favorite theologians, George MacDonald. They both did a great job of directing us through the play and helping us through the interpretations.
I do have one suggestion for you. You know how a Shakespeare play is easier to understand if you have read some Shakespeare? I think that this play is much easier to understand if you are familiar with C.S. Lewis’ language. I was very grateful that I’ve been reading through his sci-fi trilogy this year, as it made the language of the play easier to follow. When talking to others who enjoyed the play, I discovered that the language is a little fast for the uninitiated.
Like any Shakespearean play, however, the language is only part of the play. Taproot has really outdone themselves with costumes, puppets, staging and design. From the smokey streets of hell to the gates on the edge of heaven, we walk with those who each have to choose in their own, tormented way.
This play was incredible. The topic was poignant, the actors were amazing. The most versatile actor of the evening was Pam Nolte who played a well dressed woman, a widow, and the Fire Angel (on stilts!). Pam’s acting is a cut above. She has a way of pulling you into the scene and making you feel the character’s passion.
When you attend The Great Divorce, you are in for a real treat.
The play continues through February 27. Contact their box office for ticket information.