‘It’s not often that you get to do a production like this as it’s happening’; play explores 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea

28 November 2023 / by Met Radio

A play about the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea is currently playing at the Crows Theatre in Toronto.

Bad Roads, a film and play by playwright Natal’ya Vorozhbit, explores the lives of people caught in the crossfire of the Crimea Crisis. The play was originally released in 2017, with the Crimea Crisis happening three years prior. A film adaptation of Bad Roads directed by Vorozhbit was released in 2020.

One of the actors in the Toronto production thinks that this play is more relevant with the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Shauna Thompson, who plays three characters in Bad Roads, says that with the play and the ongoing invasion that it “pushes people to make different connections,” regarding the war.

“I think there’s no better time to be doing this play because it is now the war in Ukraine is ongoing. It’s not often that you get to do a production like this as it’s happening,” says Shauna Thompson, an actor in Bad Roads. “The feedback that we’ve gotten from people who have left the production and turned on the news and said, this is exactly what I just saw (in the play).”

This production sees seven actors play 15 different characters with most playing two characters. The show is split into six episodes or vignettes depicting “a different series of events with different characters and what they’re dealing with in terms of surviving a war,” says Thompson.

Of Thompson’s three characters, she says that her role as an army medic was the most difficult to play. She says that when she was auditioning for the role that she was “terrified” and did not think she could do it.

“The Army medic, she goes through and does and says things that, you know, I personally would never do or say or think,” says Thompson. “I have to give myself mentally, emotionally and physically in a way that some of the other scenes don’t require. She really drives that scene because she is the one who is deeply affected in a way and in a very recent and immediate way. For me, I often come offstage, covered in sweat, and very tired.”

With a play depicting scenarios and events that are happening currently it can be emotionally draining and tiring. Thompson says that after the medic scene, her and her scene partner check in with each other every night to make sure that they are okay after they have finished the scene.

“It’s always good to have a good warm up. It’s equally important to have a good cooldown. I think that having that kind of in place for myself after a performance is really nice to kind of remove myself mentally and emotionally from what I just performed,” says Thompson. “We had a really lovely individual who was working with us throughout the process of this show. Her name is Katey Wattam. She provided us with a ton of tools that we could use in times where we felt like we needed to decompress.”

More information and dates of the show can be found on the Crow Theatre website.

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