Pacific Theatre
How the World Began by Catherine Trieschmann

When & Where March 25 – April 16, 2022, Wed-Sat at 8pm; Saturday matinees at 2pm & Sun Apr 3 & 10 at 3pm | Pacific Theatre, 1440 W 12th Avenue, Vancouver

Director Sarah Rodgers Set Design Jessica Oostergo Lighting Design John Webber Sound Design and Composition Rick Colhoun Costume Design Stephanie Kong

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

How the World Began by Catherine Trieschmann opened at the Pacific Theatre on Friday, March 25. The play is set in Plainview, a small town in Kansas in the present day. Susan (Meghan Gardiner) is a science teacher who has come from New York to finish her qualifications for her teaching degree and finds her classroom is a converted trailer as the town has been destroyed by a tornado. She is an outsider who has come into a tightknit community that is in the throes of extreme upheaval due to the natural disaster that has destroyed the town.

The play begins with Susan entering her classroom and as she begins to work at her desk she is joined by Micah (Evan Rein) a high school student in Susan’s class. The conversation begins innocently enough until Micah questions Susan’s previous in class remark about how the world began. As in any situation where opposing views are discussed tensions arise between the two characters. Micah having been traumatized by the loss of his parents and the devastation to his town has a hard time trying to get his head around his science teacher’s views on creation.What Susan doesn’t realize until later on in the play is that Micah’s reaction to Susan’s scientific view of creation and her disparaging remark around the biblical view is exacerbated by a personal experience that haunts him.

The layering of issues that the script gradually unfolds acts to build tension in the play and adds depth to the exploration of thediverse views of science and religion with regard to how the world began. With the addition of the third character in How the World Began a further layer is added to the consequences that occur when emotion and reason are pitted against each other in discussing opposing views. Gene (Ron Reed) is the guardian to Micah. He represents the views of a third generation in the discussion around creation and of the ensuing complications that come out of the situation that has been set in motion by Micah.

The script gives the characters a multifaceted dimension which adds believability to the dialogue. Gardiner, Rein and Reed give very convincing performances. They draw the audience in by bringing their characters to life. One feels the conflicted emotions and complications that each character is going through with their own particular situation. The three characters seem much larger than just three people on stage. They make us believe in them as people. They breathe life into the characters. Definitely a must see.

© 2022 Nancie Ottem