The eccentric Canadian play, “Girl in the Goldfish Bowl” by Morris Paych, tells the story of a young girl named Iris. Mokami Players delivered the production to the stage of the Provincial Drama Festival in Stephenville Friday night.
Iona Strachan brings the precocious 11-year-old Iris to life as she declares she is experiencing, “The last few days of her childhood.” After her pet goldfish dies, Iris finds a man, played by Brian Earle, washed up on the beach. Iris is determined that this man is her goldfish reincarnated and brings him home, hoping he will restore balance to her life and family once more.
Water sound effects replaced pre-show music, setting the quirky mood of the show before the lights came up and the show began. This set up the metaphor of the goldfish bowl Iris lives in. Gerald Healey, sound designer, also took advantage of music cues to reinforce the period of the show in selecting iconic popular songs of the 1960s.
Iris youthfully twirls onto the stage, unveiling the set and fellow actors who were pre-set covered in white sheets. Solidifying the image of the goldfish bowl once again, the color scheme of the set, lights and costumes were varying shades of orange and blue. Touches such as these were necessary clues, strategically laid out for the audience to piece together the subtext of the show.
Iris took the audience on a journey presenting the high and low points of these few eventful days in her life. Empathy is extracted effortlessly as it becomes apparent that Iris is struggling to find love and a sense of belonging in her family.
When she at last finds a moment of pure happiness involving both of her parents, the audience members’ hearts are warmed. When her family dissolves, with Iris standing in the middle of it all, the audience feels compassion for her.
Director Jamie Skidmore utilized every aspect possible to construct an all-around beautiful show.
Tomorrow night the 64th Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Drama Festival wraps up with Avion Players taking on “The Laramie Project.”
Audience members should note that this show has an earlier start time of 7 p.m.
Emily House is from Stephenville/Robinsons and is a graduate of Memorial University Grenfell Campus' Theatre Program.