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Paradise by the River: Theatre Review

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Watching Paradise by the River made you wish the subject was just fictional and not based on a historical event. This historically based play was performed at the Centaur Theatre on September 5th 2010, written by Victorio Rossi and directed by Joel Miller. The story takes you back in time to right before WWII started in 1939, where an Italian family moved from Italy to create a better life for themselves in the city of Montreal.In this epic and moving story, you see the lead character, Romano played by Rossi himself, forced to leave his home and pregnant wife, Maria played by Tara Nicodemo, to go to Petawawa prison camp where they held all the prisoners of war. Considering actually events in history, the story was meant to open the eyes of the public about what really happened in Canada during the war and more specifically, to Italian born Canadian citizens.

The reason why I went to go see this particular play was because of the plot and the uniqueness of the story. As the regular person would assume, anyone who is considered a Canadian citizen would be protected by the government. However, when the war started, this was no longer so. Anyone who was not of Canadian birth was considered a threat to national security and therefore sent to the prison camp. The script was beautifully executed as the storyteller takes the audience on a step by step journey in discovering the sides of each character and what each character had to do to survive the drastic changes in their life.

The actors played an essential role in the execution of the play. Rossi played an extraordinary leading character who firmly believed in the Canadian justice system and its people.Showing that in whatever situation that crossed him, he never gave up hope on a better future and a better Canada.Following his lead was the amazing Tara Nicodemo who played his high strung pregnant wife who was desperately, regardless as her status as an immigrant woman, trying to get her husband back. The supporting cast were a perfect touch to the play, as they were the typical Italian comic relief that the story needed to show the true humorous side of Italian culture. The cast was well picked seeing how well each of them fed off of each other and that taking even one character out would leave a certain emptiness to the play.

The play established a great understanding of the past.However, I would have to say that the last crucial importance that added the authenticity of the play was the smart set design. Each scene was double sided. When a scene would change, they would turn the entire set to surprise us with an entirely new one, helping the audience transition from scene to scene a lot faster and promptly. Also, to help them set the mood they would use realistic sound effects, like train tracks and crowded people, to make the scenes more believable.

This play was intended to make the public aware of what happened to Italians in the second world war and



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