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Kodachrome, in vibrant color

by Laureen F. Guenther


Fire Exit Theatre’s production of Kodachrome, written by Adam Szymkowicz and directed by Heather Laubenstein, will be performed in Calgary’s Arts Commons, Nov 28 to Dec 2.

“Our main character is a photographer named Suzanne,” Laubenstein says. “She’s almost like a curator of art, and she takes us on a journey through a small town where everybody knows each other. It’s all around connection and love and where people think they might find their happiness. We have missed connections. We have miscommunications. We have old love. We have new love. We have what people think is love and how they think they should express it, and yes, unrequited love. But it’s all these little snapshots of it as she takes us through these stories.”
“There’s a story weaving through it,” she says, “because it’s really our photographer’s story. And she’s using these snapshots essentially to process her own.”

Calgary actor Shelby Reinitz plays the photographer, with six actors playing the other 15 characters. Laubenstein says she has a great cast and production design team. Because of the show’s emphasis on color and visual image, they’re giving special attention to design. “It’s so much fun because of color, that we can play a lot with design,” she says. “I think our designers are having some fun, just playing with what they can do with that, whether it’s with the photography or the lighting or the costuming and the set.”

The play takes its name from the vibrant-colored film that Kodak used to manufacture, but isn’t available anymore. Even its unavailability has a connection to the story.
“There’s not only a vibrant time of life,” Laubenstein says, “but there are times for everything, and time for things to end too.”

“I love stories that are about relationship and connection,” she says, “(where) the relationships are broken but there’s hope. … Kodachrome is that way. It is all these people trying to find connection. For some it works, for some it doesn’t.”

The play may also make us reconsider the snapshots we take in our own happy moments. “I’ve been struggling with the idea of happiness and how happiness is perceived, or what people believe happiness is,” Laubenstein says.

“This play explores the fact that it is not the same for everyone. I just hope that people don’t search for this empty happiness, but they can get this idea of letting go and finding peace. … the peace of the relationships they’re in. … letting go of what they perceive they should have.”

“The play and the photographer (show us) that you take pictures in order to commit a moment to eternity,” she says. “Sometimes that is not what you need to do. It’s the idea that you need to let go – embrace that moment and then you can move on to what’s next for you.”

“There are moments when you will laugh and moments when you might even tear up a little bit,” Laubenstein says. “It’s something that anyone will enjoy.”

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