Who is Dionysus... and why are they in Stony?

*SPOILER ALERT- this  is an assignment for a play I went to! Continue reading if you so choose.

It was a good thing that I showed up early to the Crocus building last week Wednesday to see the play Dionysus in Stony Mountain. Instead of only walking to the second floor to find the Rachel Browne Theatre, I may have run up to the sixth floor instead. With the sixth floor on lock down- I walked down to the second floor where I found the stage ready and waiting for the two act play that was about to begin.

Dionysus in Stony Mountain is centered on three characters played by two actors (Sarah Constible and Ross McMillan). Themes of mental illness, slave morality, rehabilitation, religion, the death of religion, run throughout the two 55 minute acts. With the first act focusing on James (a Mennonite inmate at Stony Mountain) and his psychiatrist Heidi. James is nearing his parole date, but has decided to stop taking lithium for his mental illness. Increasingly James is becoming philosophical, discussing the philosophies of slave morality, but is also becoming more unstable and agitated. Heidi, conserned that he won't be able to be leave Stony if he stops taking his medicaiton,  convinces him to continue with treatment in exchange for her quitting her job (a job she has never loved). The bond between James and Heidi is evident, but you soon realized Heidi has crossed the line making such a deal with James. And in act two you see the repercussions of it.

The second act followed Heidi's story, as James had committed suicide. Heidi is left picking up the pieces of her own life, feeling like she is unable to help anyone. Her uncle comes for a visit (played also by Ross), and they discuss why she has chosen to leave her job, what she is to do next, and how her own mental instability has affected the situation.

Throughout the entire play I found myself drifting in and out of the dialogue. It was filled with intense content that I feel I would have to pick a part piece at a time and not just ingest in two 55 minute seating.  I was also distracted by the accents (Ross' interpretation of a Mennonite that sounded more Irish, and Sarah trying to sound Jewish Mennonite), as well as the stage direction of Heidi not knowing how to re-insulate her house. She spent much of the second act measuring out the same pieces of insulation for interior walls, which typically don't need insulation at all. I also spent a lot of time wondering who Dionysus was... and was left at the end of the play with the question - Why was He in Stony Mountain?

 Overall, I would say it was a good play for an audience that wasn't me. I think the audience that was in attendance (and paid full price of $25 for the ticket) was very interested in the play and what it had to offer. I on the other hand had paid $10, and am still trying to figure out what I spent the money on.

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