The Ugly One Cuts Deep at Firehall Theatre

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The Ugly One – production photos by Jay Kopinski

written by Lorraine Payette, August 18, 2014

“Start with the nose – it sticks out the farthest from the face…”
– Scheffler in The Ugly One

(Gananoque, ON) With a sickening crunch of breaking cartilage, metamorphosis begins and life will never be the same. In a twisted world where personal appearance is more important than talent or ability, where the real “you” doesn’t matter so long as the package is perfect, anything can and does happen, and it isn’t always pretty.

“It’s a wonderful play,” said Lois Creed of Dexter, NY. “It takes a good look at a very serious subject, and makes you think about just how shallow people really are. At the same time it’s very funny. I really enjoyed it, and think everyone should come out to see what they can learn.”

Alex Poch-Goldin is in top form as Lette, the man so ugly his wife cannot stand to look at more than his left eye and whose boss would send anyone else, no matter how inexperienced or unknowledgeable, to represent his product to prospective clients. He remains absolutely convincing throughout the entire play, moving from confused and insecure to cocky and over confident and back as the tide changes with his shifting appearance.

The rest of the cast is equally strong, each playing several roles and keeping the audience always on their toes as to where they are and who is involved. While the two Schefflers (Hardee T. Lineham) are admirable, as are the Karlmanns (Jesse Aaron Dwyre), the Fannys (Tracy Michailidis) present a much larger challenge in their range of characters and personalities. Yet each comes across convincingly, and the audience can readily leap from person to person and setting to setting without ever feeling lost.

“I thought it was fascinating,” said Bob Thomas. “First of all, it’s a really interesting examination of the whole concept of image. I would absolutely recommend it to others.”

“The notion of the designer face in order to sell or to do something – I think is very appropriate,” said Gunnar Heissler. “It’s very much something we’re seeing everywhere today.”

A fascinating study of humanity in all its vanity, the costumes and set are designed around stark black-and-white lines, leaving the colour to the script and the ever present apples found throughout. Camellia Koo (set and costume designer) has done an amazing job of keeping the balance needed to pull the production off successfully without once interfering with the story itself. Cold, clinical and stark, it carries an air of discomfort while remaining exactly what is needed to create a myriad of settings in the mind’s eye. John Gzowski’s sound and Jason Hand’s lighting further enhance the effect, and the very stage becomes a subliminal character in this brilliantly crafted plot.

“I thought it was very interesting,” said Chris McDonald. “It was extremely well done and I enjoyed parts of it. I’d recommend it to friends – it’s an interesting experience. I’d definitely recommend it to the twenty to forty age group.”

“I think it’s a very good production for the Firehall,” said Lynda Garrah. “I think it will make people think and relate it to their lives.”

The Ugly One runs from August 15 – September 20, 2014, at the Firehall Theatre, 185 South Street in Gananoque, Ontario. Running time for the play is 1 hours. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees on Fridays and Saturdays at 2:30 pm (starting the Friday after opening night). Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, $16 for students. HST is applicable to all ticket prices. Group tickets are available at $26 – $28 each including GST. This show is recommended for people aged 16 and up due to sexy and provocative content. TalkBack Tuesdays with The Ugly One – casual post-show chats happen immediately after Tuesday performances in the Firehall Theatre. Come hear backstage stories from the actors in the show! For more information, please go to http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.

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