For The Morning Star
Michael Poirier’s most recent creation, Posing for Mr. Wiser, brings the audience into the soured and surly world of Mr. Wiser (Paul Lawson), a man who appears beaten by his failures as a police officer, husband, and father.
His retirement years bring with them a last grasp for success as he decides to paint the new age Mona Lisa as his legacy. The only problem is his attitude and his ability to keep his models from coming back a second time; that is, until Emily Taylor (Caitlin Norlin) shows up.
A Vernon-based playwright, Poirier brings to life in his writing issues and feelings the audience can relate to on a deeper level, from the challenges of parenting (from his play State of Confusion) to the heavy burden caused by the regrets we carry with us through life (Posing for Mr. Wiser). He sheds light on the parts of our lives we keep hidden and this makes experiencing his plays all the more capturing while leaving you wondering about your own introspections.
With only a two-man cast, Lawson and Norlin engage the audience through their bouts of verbal jousting, complete with sarcastic low blows, almost immediately giving this serious production a balance of equally well-placed humour relieving some of the pressure experienced when facing life as a stage.
Lawson gives the audience exactly what they expect to see in a sarcastic, rude, and loud drunk, from missing liquor money to a messy scattered bottle collection and emotional outbursts. As Taylor slowly works to chip away at this stone-soured exterior, we catch the occasional glimpse of what appears to be a kind man hiding within who might still have hope after all.
Taylor is a young woman determined to expose that certain something hiding within, regardless of Wiser’s opinion on the matter and Norlin brings that stubborn attitude vibrantly to life on stage, keeping pace with Lawson at every snarky turn and sarcastic wall put up.
Poirier writes that he is proud of this play beyond merely writing “for the sake of storytelling,” as he should be. Posing for Mr. Wiser throws some of life’s biggest issues out at the audience, and while we may not always want to face them head on, somewhere along the way we can still find a way to laugh about them.
Posing for Mr. Wiser stages Thursday, May 19 to Saturday, May 21 at the Schubert Centre in Vernon before moving on to Oliver as part of this year’s Okanagan Zone (OZone) Drama Festival. More information about the festival can be found at: www.soplayers.ca/festival
– Mirka Yargeau is an aspiring writer new to the Okanagan, in love with its vibrant and active lifestyle.