Masked changes

I, Claudia is a coming of age tale

I, Claudia uses masks to help the actress and audience transition from one character to the next.
I, Claudia uses masks to help the actress and audience transition from one character to the next.
Credit: 
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I, Claudia is a window into preteen afflictions of puberty and social hierarchies, with added pressures like divorce and a father’s loathsome new girlfriend.

The one-woman show stars Michelle Polak, who plays all four characters in the production. The Crow’s Theatre rendition of I, Claudia will run in Kingston this week.

Polak last took on the challenging multi-part role in 2010 for the Crow’s company in Prince George, B.C.

“With every opportunity I have to perform it, I discover something new and deepen the authenticity of it,” Polak told the Journal via email. “This is a human story.”

I, Claudia was originally written and performed by Kristen Thomson in Toronto in 2001. The play won several awards, including the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play. Thomson also starred in a 2004 film adaptation of the script, winning a 2005 Gemini award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries.

Polak said she asked for Thomson’s blessing before succeeding the role.

In the Crow’s Theatre production, she takes Thompson’s method of using full-face masks to identify each character.

“The roots of theatre stem from mask work,” Polak said. “We use mask, costume, sound, vocal shifts and physical embodiment to create the magic.”

I, Claudia runs from Oct. 18 to Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Baby Grand Theatre. Tickets are $39.

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