Michael Scholar Jr. directs Lungs, which is at Studio 16 Nov. 13-22. (photo from Mitch and Murray Productions)
If you’ve not been to the theatre in many months, consider treating yourself to a COVID-19-safe performance of Lungs, opening at Studio 16 in Vancouver Nov. 13, and running to Nov. 22. Michael Scholar Jr. is the Jewish director of the play, which stars real-life married couple Aaron Craven and his wife, Kate Craven, who is also a member of the Jewish community.
Audience numbers will be limited to 25 in this two-actor performance, in which the couple discusses whether or not they should have a child. The discussion takes place over many years and the debate is over whether childbearing is the morally correct choice in a world brimming with overpopulation, hatred, racism and climate change.
“The ideas and issues brought up in this piece really resonate right now in the pandemic, with regards to questions like, Are we taking care of the planet, our neighbours and ourselves?” Scholar told the Independent. “This really resonates with us as artists and, to approach this during the pandemic, seems really timely.”
Lungs was written by Duncan McMillan, a British playwright, and debuted in 2011. Aaron Craven, the co-producer and owner of the Vancouver theatre and film production company Mitch and Murray Productions, determined a two-actor play starring a husband and wife would satisfy COVID-19 safety protocols. With small audiences and barriers between the actors and audience, the show will go on.
Scholar notes that Lungs is a much-loved play to mount not just because of its relevant subject matter, but also because of its production simplicity. “The author’s notes say there’s not to be any costume changes, furniture or set pieces, so 60 scenes happen without any indication as to where and when they are,” he said. “They keep jumping forward in time and it’s up to the audience to figure out where and when they are taking place. So, theatrically, it’s a relatively simple, low-fi production.”
While there’s no overtly Jewish content, Scholar believes that to be a Jew is to wrestle with G-d and, at the heart of this play, is a wrestling match about childbearing in a morally tenuous moment in time.
For ticketing information, visit mitchandmurrayproductions.com.
Lauren Kramer, an award-winning writer and editor, lives in Richmond. To read her work online, visit laurenkramer.net.