PORT HARDY — Cole Kinley drew a demanding role for his first turn in a lead part with the Port Hardy Secondary School drama department. But he was up to the task.
Kinley did an effective job portraying one man’s spiral into madness as the title character in The Father, August Strindberg’s drama exploring the conflicts and relationships of gender, generation, religion and science.
The three-act play was presented last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at PHSS and directed by drama club instructor Darcy Greenland.
Kinley played Captain Adolf, a career military officer trying to make his mark with scientific research. A religious skeptic, Captain Adolf lived with a cohort of female believers including his wife Laura (Kristen Walkus), daughter Bertha (Anik Desmarais-Spencer), nurse Margaret (Megan Sorensen) and a mother-in-law who did not appear on stage.
Served by subordinate Nojd (Tiernan Case) and an orderly (Benjamin Wilson, who also served as assistant director), the captain was nonetheless dominated and eventually undermined by the women, particularly by Laura.
Walkus portrayed a wife conflicted emotionally yet resolute in her determination to prevent Adolf from controlling their daughter’s future. She was at her best as the scheming shrew who used Adolf’s own skepticism to call into question his paternity and accelerate his ultimate downfall.
Alex Howard starred as Doctor Ostermark, who unwittingly allied with Laura in her plot. Avellin St. Claire played Pastor Jonas, Adolf’s well-meaning friend who nonetheless played into Laura’s hands in the end.
Alex Southgate was prop artist for a set that was spare but effective. Walls adorned with weapons and military portraits and Adolf’s texts scattered across every available clearly indicated the room as a man’s oasis in the otherwise feminine household.
Darin Holm on lighting and Joshua Junglas on sound combined to enhance the dramatic mood of a dark, stormy night during which climactic events unfolded.
Other participants in the production included stage managers Emily Texmo and Kortney Bullock, costume designer Julie Clair and photographer Kirsten Voth.