Ex Cathedra, presented by Troupe de la Lune, is a story of trust, deceit, denial, and revisiting past relationships.
Marie Robertson tells you why you should see it:
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Unfortunately, the performance of Ex Cathedra that I saw was plagued by an illness in the cast, forcing someone not in the cast to stand in for her, downgrading the performance to a dramatic reading (as scripts were present) instead of a full performance. This, however, did not actually affect how enjoyable the play was. In the distant future, or past, or alternate reality – not quite sure, homosexuality is not only a sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church but an illegal act in the eyes of the State. In fact, the Church itself is helping homosexuals escape government punishment through an underground railroad.
A state Commander and a Catholic Sister have a meeting, but their meeting is much more than a meeting as they used to be lovers – and the secrets they share could be the death of both of them. The play is extremely well and thoughtfully written by Ottawa-local Lawrence Aronovitch and while the entirety of this play is a singular conversation, it is one that progresses, moves plot, creates tension and continues to hold interest from beginning to end. Where some plays falter in the writing of conversations, Ex Cathedra stands strong. I would love to see a real performance of this play.
Downgraded to a staged-reading, with only two actresses talking at a table with script in front of them, this was still in the top half of this year’s Fringe. Fortunately, even in the face of actor illness, this was a play meant to be a conversation and that didn’t require elaborate blocking. If the actors had had to move around on stage with their scripts, or the action demanded movement that wasn’t there, it would have truly fallen apart. As is, the play played perfectly fine with the two actors never leaving their seats during the full length of the reading – since the play was effectively an interrogation/conversation between two people.
It was a compelling piece of theatre and very well-written and both of the woman did really well; to the point where you’d be hard-pressed to tell which was the stand-in. However, since it was only a reading and not a full performance that we saw, we’ll abstain from any ratings here.
Worth noting, Troupe de la Lune is putting the play on for Jerr’s Vision, which means all the proceeds of the play go to combat bullying. It’s worth paying to see on those merits alone.
– by Allan Mackey
Photos for this article taken for Production Ottawa by Production Ottawa photographer, David Pasho.