Theatre Department presents award-winning Bone Cage

By Costa Maragos Posted: March 19, 2018 6:00 a.m.

A scene from Bone Cage. Students (l-r) are Emma Eaton (Chicky), Rachel Walliser (seated – Krista), Erik Lillico (Robbie), Mike Musa (Jamie) and  Bryton Luxton (Kevin).
A scene from Bone Cage. Students (l-r) are Emma Eaton (Chicky), Rachel Walliser (seated – Krista), Erik Lillico (Robbie), Mike Musa (Jamie) and Bryton Luxton (Kevin). Photos by Costa Maragos - External Relations

A smooth rock staircase leads up to a well-worn wooden bridge, frequented by locals.

Litter is scattered below the bridge next to a swimming hole.

As day turns to night, the bridge backdrop begins to glow neon green in the shape of a forest.

Welcome to life in a logging town in rural Nova Scotia and the setting for Bone Cage, the U of R Theatre Department’s annual spring play.  

Bone Cage
Student Mike Musa plays Jamie in Bone Cage playing March 20 – 24 at the Shu Box Theatre.

Bone Cage, by Catherine Banks, received of the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama.

The story presents a dark, yet humorous portrayal of life in and around a one-industry town. It tells the story of the town’s younger residents who depend on the logging industry for a living. It’s a conflicted life; they make a living destroying the environment they love.

Bone Cage is directed by Kathryn Bracht, Associate Professor in the Theatre Department, and designed by Kathleen Irwin, Professor in the Theatre Department and Associate Dean, Graduate and Research.

“What is wonderful about this play is that it is filled with wonderful young people,” says Bracht. “Our cast has taken to it with real passion. This is also a Canadian play, which I love. “

A total of eleven students have roles with four of the leads double cast.  

“It has been a really wonderful process,” says Bracht. “It has also been a challenging process because it is double cast. I’ve been essentially directing two shows as we have two casts who have been given the same direction but they have slightly different interpretations of the play.”

Jamie, played by Mike Musa, is a 22 year old wood processor whose job is to clear-cut for pulp. At the end of each shift he walks through the destruction he has created looking for injured wildlife and rescues whatever creatures he can. Jamie wants to escape this life, but where to go?

The play explores the notion of escape and how a soul can be trapped in its own ‘rib cage.’

“It’s a great play about how the environment is integral to our survival. In a really clever way the playwright has interwoven this message that destroying the environment essentially destroys ourselves. And the playwright very effectively tells the story through the eyes of young people in the logging industry in Nova Scotia,” says Bracht. “I love the play. It’s a beautiful engaging poetic piece.”

Event:    Bone Cage
Dates:    March 20 -24
Venue:   Shu Box Theatre – Riddell Centre Main Campus
Tickets:  $20/adults and $15/students and seniors

U of R students are admitted free with valid ID. There is a pay-what-you-can matinee Friday March 23.