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Assassinating Thomson

By Apartment613 on June 21, 2013

Reviewed by Amanda Dookie @letitbeamandad

75 min | Solo, Storytelling | Mature

With all lights on the audience and a paintbrush in one hand, Bruce Horak sets out to recount a fictional tale of the events surrounding one of Canada’s most famous painters, Tom Thomson, while he literally paints a portrait of the audience. This act immediately engages the viewer in this intriguing monologue written by the actor. Assassinating Thomson unravels a story not just about Tom Thomson’s death, but about Horak himself, taking you on a journey through his own eyes, where he shares his experiences with cancer, blindness and relationships.

The subject matter was informative, helping to educate the audience on the history of the Group of Seven and Thomson’s involvement, as well as mature, touching on sensitive topics such as disease, death, and family. These themes, coupled with the fact that Horak interacted with the audience added an element of improvisation and gave the performance a special feeling of authenticity. In fact, initially the setting and acting almost seemed too realistic to be believable as a play. But as the monologue ensued, I watched as Horak delivered his lines with a sense of honesty and poise, exposing the unique style and creativity of the performance.

I must say, I walked out of the theatre with respect for Horak for sharing his personal experience living with a disability and for his ability to overcome those obstacles as an artist. While most of the themes were serious and mature, the overall performance proved to be multifaceted in its nature, with Horak getting the audience laughing at times, and reciting thought provoking lines such as “…perhaps we can get to a time when we no longer grieve what is lost, but celebrate what remains” – I believe that quote is a perfect example of what Horak has done with this play, not only by celebrating Tom Thomson, but those who have overcome adversity, and have turned it into something beautiful. At the end of the play, Horak reveals his painting to the audience, leaving us with something beautiful that celebrates us too.

Assassinating Thomson by Bruce Horak is play at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Ave, Venue 1) on Saturday, June 22nd at 11:00 PM; Sunday, June 23rd at 2:00 PM; Friday, June 28th at 8:00 PM; Saturday, June 29th at 2:00 PM; and Sunday, June 30th @ 5:30 PM. Tickets are $10.

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