Jerome: The Historical Spectacle
Jerome, in production at Two Planks and a Passion Theatre until Sunday, is a juggernaut of Nova Scotian talent: The play's written by Ami McKay (The Birth House), and stars Zuppa Circus's Ben Stone and Susan Leblanc-Crawford. Now Jerome is published by Gaspereau Press, the creator of books so gorgeous you want to take them to bed. McKay's departure point is the true story of a legless and mute man found washed up in Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, in 1863. (Ironically, early stages of 2007's Penny Dreadful from Zuppa Circus, Two Planks' theatre-in-residence, also focused on Jerome's story.) While conducting historical research on the rise of circuses for her new novel, McKay found a clever way to give Jerome new life, by entering the world of sideshow freaks. One again, McKay's writing is naturally lively and spotted with humour. Her examination of public spectacle has contemporary context, visually represented in her decision to have every character, like Jerome's rescuers Isobel and Madeline, be performed by a sideshow that includes a bearded lady and conjoined twins. After all, is the distanced repulsion-obsession that Jerome experiences from the townfolk that much different than reading Perez Hilton?
--Sue Carter Flinn