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THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE Shaw Festival/Spiegeltent
Jul 20, 2023, 13:25
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Shaw Festival
Through October 8
THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE Shaw Festival/Spiegeltent

With the world of theater clueless about the future, there are a lot of experiments being tried.
The Shaw Festival is using its standard three theaters and, this season, a tent, along with the Spiegeltent, a European imported DIY theater.
For the Shaw version of Pierre de Marivaux’s “The Game of Love and Chance,” it has created an improv show, staged in the kit-built Spiegeltent, tightly surrounding the small stage.
Not only is this improv, the cast changes with each performance, a quick coin flip.
De Marivaux’ story holds, the same tale of aristocratic families trying to arrange a marriage of a son and a daughter in those last decades before the French Revolution.
What makes it comic is that both the prospective bride and prospective groom have been switched with their maid and valet, here Deborah Hay and Martin Happer as the nobility posing as the serfs.
This mass confusion among the men and women is what makes the show funny, until everyone involved figured what was going on and the end result becomes clear.
Despite the improv nature of the show, it basically follows de Marivaux’ plot.
At the same time, there are occasions when a cast member seems stunned by the line he or she is supposed to react to and there is a quick silence until there is a reaction.
I’m not sure very many of the Shaw’s performers came out of Second City or any other improv company and it occasionally shows.
This doesn’t fit the standard rules for a “French farce” because there aren’t enough doors although in all other ways it is.
It’s funny and insane and well done and that’s why “The Game of Love and Chance” is really worth seeing, just off the patio outside the Festival Theatre.


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