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Cake and Dirt and MacIvor

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

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  • Daniel MacIvor at the University of Guelph March, 4 2015 - Photo by Jonathan Colalillo

    Daniel MacIvor at the University of Guelph March, 4 2015 - Photo by Jonathan Colalillo

By: Zoey Ross

On March 4, 2015, Cake and Dirt premiered worldwide at the Terragon Theatre in Toronto. Theatre students at the University of Guelph welcomed MacIvor as a guest lecturer on campus a week earlier.

Canadian playwright and actor, Daniel MacIvor has managed to successfully make mud in the sandboxes of one percenters everywhere. If nothing else his new play makes fresh, comical jabs at the life of the bourgeoisie and political elite. This play is laid out as narrative story and has been crafted as very accessible piece by MacIvor.

Daniel MacIvor came to the University of Guelph a week before his new play opened for some script reading and a question and answer session. He is the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and has produced his work around the world. The adorable truth of the matter is that he had has dog with him on his lap during the entire talk. It was like his personal assistant for screening silly questions. He did read some lines from his newest work Cake and Dirt. The following week over a hundred University of Guelph students boarded yellow school busses to go see world premiere.

Cake and Dirt is set in modern day Toronto and it comes with real Toronto problems. The three locations of the play are a concrete park and the inside of two luxury apartments. Character Jeff (David Storch), father, husband and ex-husband is still fuming that his beloved park has been paved over. All that is left are some sickly looking baby trees potted in the pavement. Recently, city council made the decision to allow the paving of the area. The decision came down to one councilor named Jason, a.k.a councilor flip-flop (Patrick Kwok-Choon), who turned his vote at the last second.  

This tale of a questionable politician, wine fueled house wives and a nature crazed father is narrated by daughter Riley (Bethany Jillard). Riley is the artistic ex addict daughter of privilege, who seems to be a journalist at heart. Riley comes off as this strange yet sincere woman in the play, caught somewhere between adulthood and her teenage years. She is big fan of a blog called Dead City and has recently begun to record everything. The image that comes to mind is a 6 year old girl with a numbered fedora trying to get the hard facts. Between her recording, classes in iconoclasticism and dealing with her parents Riley successfully leads the way to make the story complete.

Throughout the course of the play actress Bethany Jillard continually keeps her sense of mystery and shows great control by only showing so much of her character at a time. While the whole cast as an ensemble was very believable, it was actor David Scorch who brought all the feels.  Scorch was able to convey the frustration that is often seen in people who are fed up with over urbanization. He made this story seem like it could be taking place right in the heart of Parkdale or in the old neighborhoods of east side Toronto. Over and over again he spoke to the dangers of the concrete jungle and how it’s making his life the lesser. At one point the character Jeff drunkenly hops on the Kitchen Island and out of nowhere delivers a poignant story that retrospectively, acts as a metaphor for the entire play. In the same breath, Scorch delivered several great one liners one being “disco cake”, a term that should go on the wall in the Terragon theatre.

If you like laughing at the elite upper class, booing politicians and a taste of the supernatural, then Cake and Dirt is for you. Prepare to be humbled Toronto. It is playing at the Terragon Theatre until April 12 in the main space.

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