A strong connection

Romantic drama ‘Lilies’ sizzles with passion and intensity

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Queen’s drama department’s Lilies or The Revival of a Romantic Drama is a play oozing with intensity.

Within minutes of the play’s opening, which focuses on two young men in love within a homophobic environment, its dedication to honesty becomes clear.

The play stars Christian Horoszczak as one of the lovers, Vallier, Sean Meldrum as his partner, Simon, and Christopher Blackwell as Bilodeau.

Written by Canadian writer Michel Marc Bouchard and directed by Grahame Renyk, the plot focuses on how the pair must endure the pressures of their religious school, the intervention of Simon’s family as well as the self-doubt experienced by the lovers.

The play does a great job of gradually building dramatic tension.

The production could have easily failed if it was not for the airtight ensemble cast. There are 12 actors in the play, each tasked with an incredibly difficult role.

There were so many scenes that could have come off as silly if it was not for the skill of the actors involved.

Having every female character played by a man is a classic comedic premise, yet it never once comes off as silly or trite.

The actors’ investment in their roles makes every scene completely believable. The play’s leads, Meldrum and Horoszczak, are especially talented. There is believability to their love, which I find quite rare in most theatre.

One of the standouts of Lilies was actor Devon Jackson, who portrayed the Countess.

I would have thought that having a man play a convincing woman was impossible, as his only feminine attribute was the dress he wore.

Not only did he play a woman, he played an insane divorcee that was twice his age. The role was preposterously difficult, yet Jackson pulled it off effortlessly. Within 10 minutes of the play beginning, it was easy to forget that you were watching a young man. Despite his believability as an older woman, Jackson portrayed the insane Countess with a childlike sincerity.

His choices added an element of realism to the play that blew me away.

Lilies is a play that goes for the throat. There are no scenes in the play that pull a punch.

Every scene relishes in the intensity of the moment.

There will undoubtedly be a scene or two that will put you on the edge of your seat.

The set design does an excellent job of straddling minimalism and complexity. Some scenes consist of just a few chairs and table, while others have elaborate backdrops.

Lilies is a play that you think about after you leave the theatre. It’s not an experience that’s easily forgotten.

Lilies runs until Feb. 13. Tickets are available at Theological Hall.

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