Yesterday night, Eternal Theatre Collective opened Seven Minutes in Heaven, the charming and hilarious play that follows six young teenagers spending an evening together. This was the Canadian debut of Steven Levenson’s play and was directed by Allyson Fournier with an entirely youth (25 and under) cast and crew. Considering this, the play proved to be sophisticated and professional beyond its years, in terms of direction, acting, and production. It is clear that a lot of hard work and skill went into this production and it showed in the detailed set, the mature acting, and the overall cohesion of the piece.
The six young actors (Brielle Chan, Sean Cuevas, Julien Hicks, Hira Lalani, Shelby Satterhwaite, and Alain Tahir) were confident, committed, and showed an authenticity that could have easily gone missing in this story. The classically dramatic teen characters could have easily fallen into stereotypes, throwing the whole thing into cheesy cliches, but the actors, for the majority of the time, were able to find an enthralling truthfulness in their work. Shelby Satterthwaite, who played Margot, was perhaps the strongest link of all, and not only proved to act well beyond her years, but added gripping immediacy and maturity to the ensemble.
The set was thoughtfully designed and impressively detailed. Set Designer Bailey Kaye succeeded in creating a space that provided multiple playing areas where different scenes could happen at once, a major requirement for the play. The closet and bathroom for example, were cleverly simple in their layout, yet effectively created the spaces they were representing. The detail that was shown in the set was engaging and enhanced the story greatly.
Although this production was generally more professional than expected, there were a few technical flaws that could have been easily fixed. The first of which was when one or two of the actors would sit in the shadows behind the scene taking place. Perhaps it was supposed to be dark enough that we could not see them, but having them there, sometimes laughing at the scene taking place, served as a bit of a distraction from what we were supposed to be focusing on. There was also a scene that took place where two characters (Margot and Derek) were seated in front of the ping-pong table. Due to their position on the ground, they were out of sight to a large chunk of the audience, and I missed some important moments in that scene because I simply couldn’t see them. Finally, the monologue that Phoebe (Brielle Chan) performed was done in very dim lighting, and although I’m sure this was an intentional choice and indeed added to the mood of the monologue, a tiny bit more light on Chan’s face would have made the piece more effective.
Although there were a few minor technical flaws, Seven Minutes in Heaven delighted the audience with it’s strong actors, carefully constructed set and props, and it’s high level of professionalism.
Seven Minutes in Heaven plays at Studio 16 until March 10 | Tickets: $13-$20 |
More info here