Kim Collier's All the Way Home is up close and personal

Photo courtesy of Electric Company Theatre

There’s breaking down the fourth wall, and then there’s Kim Collier’s vision of Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer winning play "All the Way Home", running at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from January 10-14.

Not only will the audience file in through the wings to sit on the sides on the stage, but there will be pillowed spots within the playing space where people can sit and watch. As well, when a primary scene is being acted out in one playing space, other cast members  in a secondary scene may be going about their business. Beyond voyeuristic, the audience scattered about the playing space may look almost like ghosts who are always present watching the action.

In a lunch break at the Russian Hall where the large cast that includes a wide demographic including several children, director Collier, winner in 2010 of the prestigious and lucrative Simonovich prize for direction, took a break to chat about the play.

“I’ve wanted to do a really intimate show in and amongst the performers for 5 or 6 years now," suggested the articulate Collier.

“What I love to do is to create community and theatre that feels participatory. Because our world is so mediated, to know how we come together to share is essential. It can feel really present and vital.”

Tad Mosel, after a stint as a sergeant in World War II, was a contemporary of writers like Paddy Cheyefsky, and Horton Foote, the young guns who got hired to write for television. A leading dramatist for hour- long plays in television’s golden era in the 1950’s, Mosel's All the Way Home premiered in New York, November 30, 1960, at the Belasco Theater to critical acclaim. In addition to winning a 1961 Pulitzer Prize, the play was nominated for a Tony Award. James Agee’s  novel “A Death in the Family”, from which it was adapted, also won a Pulitzer Prize.

Electric Company co-founder Collier is considered a leading voice in Canadian Theatre creating work that is artistically inspired, yet accessible for the audience.

Currently, Collier is the associate artist at the Canadian Stage and is overseeing the Canadian Stage/York University Masters program in Direction in Toronto. She has returned  to Vancouver to direct All the Way Home. Following the success of last year’s theatre/film hybrid Tear the Curtain, she is now telling the story of how an accidental death affects a family.

“When I first read the play, I didn’t realize there was a loss, but rather how we come together through conflict or loss," shared Collier.

“(The play is about) sibling rivalry, mother’s love, the bond between brothers, love between husband and wife. As we age, we come away from how we saw ourselves as children and there is a space between us. We need to find out how to come together.”

A stellar multi-generational cast that features  the uber-talented Meg Roe in the lead role and includes Alessandro Juliani, Nicola Lipman, Julia Mackey, Tom McBeath, Gabrielle Rose, Haig Sutherland, Jordan Wessels, Donna White, George Young, and Jonathan Young plus a cache of talented child actors, is up for the challenge of having the audience so close.

“You need very experienced actors  as the actor focus needs to be extraordinary,” said Collier.

“This play is a simple acknowledgment of how we pass time on earth and how people move in and out of your life”, Collier suggested. “It’s everybody’s life.”

The show will run nightly from January 10 --14 at 8 p.m. with Friday and Saturday matinees.

Tickets range from $20 to $30 – limited capacity, advance booking strongly recommended.

Reserve now through the Vancouver Playhouse Box Office  at 604.873.3311 Full cast and show times at www.electriccompanytheatre.com.

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