We sent co-op kid Lauren to see the latest now playing at the Drayton Festival Theatre. This is her review.
Glory, a play about the true story of the Preston Rivulettes, a women’s hockey team that came to fruition during the Great Depression. As a quick synopsis, Hilda who is a natural hockey player convinces her sister Nellie and the Schmuck sisters Marm and Helen to make a women’s hockey team to compete in the Ontario women’s league. It’s not only a story about people overcoming the odds, as most of the girls aren’t very good at hockey at the start but it also an incredibly moving story about feminism and women empowerment.
This play is incredibly unique and I have never seen anything like it. It was a very small cast of only five people, the four girls and their coach Mr. Fach. The nice thing about such a small cast is that it is easier to develop the chemistry that is so vital onstage, especially with this production as the girls are very close knit and that was evident. The cast worked incredibly well together, they played off each other well and had great comedic timing. They reacted to each thing the others said and stayed completely in the moment. The romance that was suggested was well written
Originally, I was confused as to how the hockey would be portrayed onstage and was hesitant on how realistic it would look or how much of an impact it would have but honestly I was completely blown away. The hockey was done as a jazz type dance number, they had several different games throughout the duration of the play and although they were similar there was something very distinctive about each game and it was easy to be entertained with each one. Also kudos to Morgan Yamada, who played Nellie to dance so well in goalie pads. They simulated the fighting and hitting very well considering there weren’t any other actors to portray the other team, which gave it a comical aspect. What stood out to me however was the attention to detail the women had with their actions, such as when they were on the ice they had to pretend as if they were sliding and slipping, they never walked or faltered in their movements. Initially three of the four girls couldn’t skate to play hockey but their falling, slipping and catching one another had the audience in stitches along with their witty humour. Also, every time they went to get off they did the stop and jump as if they were maneuvering around the edge of the boards. I was impressed by how realistic it looked in their poses, posture and ability to move as if they were on the ice in boots made to look like skates without the blade.
The sets were very simplistic but effective. There were five settings throughout the play and each one was configured from the main set of the arena boards. Just by looking at it initially you wouldn’t guess that simple arena boards could be transformed into a dressing room, a shoe factory or a train but you will find yourself looking right at Preston during the Depression Era, helped by the period costumes and props. Having the one set made for a non-cluttered stage and also made scene transitions smooth and easy without the use of stage hands as the actors could easily roll the pieces around the stage. Another thing to mention is that during scene changes not one of the five actors broke character. They continued their stage business specific to their persona and continued to interact with each other as they exited and moved the sets. This was important because it kept the audience engaged, if character is broken the interest and the ability to captivate an audience is also broken.
The characters were certainly not two dimensional and the story wasn’t solely focused on hockey, it also included the reality of the time during the Great Depression and personal struggles around each of the characters. All in all, Glory is definitely a must see as it plays to Canadian history, it’s hilarious, the cast is immensely talented, it’s unique and the theme of women empowerment will stay with you as you exit the theatre