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Theatre Calgary’s ‘Iceland’ explores capitalism and hasty first impressions

Theatre Calgary's "Iceland" deals with capitalism and righteousness. Global News

How quickly do you judge someone you meet?

It’s a question at the centre of Theatre Calgary’s newest production: Iceland.

The funny and dark Canadian-written play is set in Toronto’s Liberty Village after the 2008 financial crisis, told from the perspectives of three main characters.

READ MORE: Calgary costumer helps actors look the part: ‘I just jumped into it’

It deals with capitalism and the ugly ways it can influence people’s behaviour.

“An overall theme of the show is the power of money and how it pushes us to perhaps go further than we thought we could go or should go,” said director Jenna Turk on Wednesday.

“It’s this big question of is it people first or yourself first? It really talks about capitalism and how that as a construct can do some harm.”

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The monologue-based show is full of personal stories and secrets. Audiences will have the chance to watch the play from special onstage seating.

“We decided to put the audience on the stage as well to really highlight the voyeurism in the show, and that really gives people a closer look into these characters,” Turk said. “It adds a different perspective on things.”

Iceland offers three different points of view on one situation, and makes people think about how they judge others, she explained.

“These three characters present in one way when you first meet them, and you right away judge them either for how they’re dressed or what they’re saying,” Turk said.

“Then slowly over the course of the play, other sides of their personalities are revealed and sometimes that makes our audiences cringe a little or feel bad about having laughed and enjoyed them a little bit. So it really makes you think about how everyone walks around this world with so much going on that we don’t know what’s going on in their lives.”

Lara Schmitz plays Anna in Theatre Calgary’s “Iceland.”. Global News

Lara Schmitz plays Anna, a religious girl who has been evicted.

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“All of this together comes into a very strong sense of righteousness of her being in the right, other people being in the wrong, and being able to judge people,” Schmitz said.

Audiences will discover that first impressions might not be the full story, she said.

“The play speaks a lot about the ways that we see people and what we assume from that, and a lot of different dynamics around power and the way that our society works,” Schmitz said.

Iceland is at Max Bell Theatre until Nov. 2.

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