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Arts in Review

Review: Variations on the Death of Trotsky

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Image courtesy Ally Schuurman

Reviewed by Katie Stobbart

Plays again:

Friday, April 25 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 26 5:20 p.m.

Director: Liam Archer

This play, initially, is exactly as the title suggests: a series of short scenes exploring the death of Trotsky. The strange part is, as we see it, Trotsky is still alive … and in each scene, he is about to die. It’s kind of like in Groundhog Day, but focuses on the day of his death — the day an axe was driven (or smashed) into his skull. I am pleased to note that, despite having little prior knowledge of Trotsky, I enjoyed the play and its humour. It was a humourous tragedy: hilarity was eventually punctuated with a curiously sober note — after all, it’s no secret how the play must end. I learned a number of things from this play: let it not be said that Trotsky was killed by an ice pick, remember to stop and smell the nasturtiums, and don’t listen to everything you read in the encyclopedia.

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