The University of Saskatchewan’s professional production company, Greystone Theatre, presents its very first production of the year, titled The Golden Age. It tells the story of assimilation, colonialism and white male privilege and is a story all U of S students should hear.
Written by the Australian writer Louis Nowra, the play takes place in the 1940s, during the Second World War and revolves around a group of outcasts who are discovered by men and then exposed to modern civilization. The Sheaf sat down with the set and light designer Logan Martin-Arcand to hear more about The Golden Age.
“It’s about a group of people in the wilds of Tasmania [Australia] who have been separate from main society for 100 years and over this time, they kind of interbreed and they lose their language and they lost a lot of what society sees as being a person,” Acrand said.
The story continues on from here with the “outcast” society of people being integrated into the modern society. However, the modern society fears that these people will fuel Nazi propaganda and turn Australians into Nazi propaganda believers.
In Canada, the story of colonialism is well known and although this play takes place in Australia, it easily draws parallels between itself and the assimilation and mistreatment of Indigenous people in Canada. The themes and topics explored in The Golden Age are those that can still be applied to society today.
“I think this play is the ultimate play about white male privilege — that’s what I take back from it. It’s these white men who fuck up their lives and yet they want to blame it on these feral and primitive people. I think my biggest fear is people will see the show and not get that,” Acrand said.
Not only should students attend The Golden Age for the story itself, but they should also do so to witness the hard work of the drama students and all that has gone into this production.
“It’s important to see what the drama department is capable of; we’re not a community theatre, we are a group of professionally trained people and artists. What we create is a production down to every single aspect of it — we have professional hours, professional budgets and we follow all of equity rules, which is the actors’ union,” Acrand said.
All those involved with the Greystone Theatre dedicate a tremendous amount of time to their studies so that all their research and classes can be applied into an actual production.
“We aren’t just writing papers, watching and doing research, we are putting our research that we do every single day into practice, which a lot of departments don’t get to do before they go for their masters,” Acrand said.
As the set and lighting designer, Acrand said the actors are very important in terms of how he creates an environment that makes the story come to life.
“It’s this process of adapting myself to fit around the most important part of the play which, in reality, is the actors. I wouldn’t have anything to design if it weren’t for the actors,” Acrand said.
Directed by Dwayne Brenna and Carol Greyeyes, both professors in the drama department, The Golden Age is a story of alienation and love that you don’t want to miss. Come out and support your fellow peers and enjoy the show.
The Golden Age runs from Oct. 12–22 at the Greystone Theatre located in the John Mitchell Building. Tickets are $17 for students and are available for purchase by calling the Greystone Theatre Daytime Box Office or at the door.
Photo: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor