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Departures and Arrivals

Review by Natalie Pendergast

Arrivals and Departures is much more than a study about everyday airport drama. Canadian author Carol Shields' first play is also flavoured with comedy, romance, and charm. It's production by Little Voices at Georgetown's King's Playhouse is directed by Luis Gondeslen with actors Joseph Marmo, Haley Batchilder, Ashley Condon, Kyle MacMillan, and Graham Thompson.

The comforting setting of the Playhouse is soon forgotten as the first scene transports the audience to Montreal's Dorval Airport, with travellers rushing and lugging. The pace of the airport is established with jumping lights coming from behind and jazzy beats of a drum from in front of the stage. The static-riddled voice on the intercom receives groans of recognition. Every person in the room is reminded of the excitement and stress of travelling.

Departures and Arrivals inspects of the specific conversations, events, and conflicts of various passengers including the activist, the hippy, the middle-aged wives, the business men, the sports team, the high school jock, the British and French personalities, the movie director, the sexually undefined, the philosopher, the quiet observer whose thoughts are not so quiet, and the airport custodian-to name some. By themselves they are intriguing enough, but together their different and often clashing perspectives on issues satisfy the audience on a higher level.

The cast of Departures and Arrivals, a team of six, is able to captivate the audience with the play's wide array of personalities. They could not know their characters better if they had lived in the Montreal airport. But just as important, they have fun doing it-a fact not lost on the audience who found the fun contagious.

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