Peter Fernandes on The Just

Soulpepper Academy Graduate Peter Fernandes shares his insights on The Just, a world premiere translation of Camus by Bobby Theodore opening this March.

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The Just is about a group of revolutionaries planning the assassination of a Grand Duke during the Russian Revolution. The play and its characters are based on real people and events carried out by the Socialist Revolutionary Party in 1905. At its core, it is an intimate look at the moral toll of being a terrorist or revolutionary and standing up for one’s ideals when confronted with the task of taking another person’s life. Camus gives the audience opposing perspectives centered on the forces that motivate people to want change, what it really takes to instigate change, and the moral consequences of revolutionary action.

Many of the artists in our production of The Just, including myself, have been involved with the piece for over a year and a half. Director Frank Cox-O’Connell has long worked with Bobby Theodore on this new translation and we’ve had the benefit of several readings and explorations of the text prior to rehearsal. Being given so much development time to dive into the large ideas of this work has been incredibly rewarding: just when you think you’ve got a handle on these characters, something will shift, opening up a whole new series of questions. So between our in-depth look at the piece last fall and the beginning of this run, we’ve been allowed to digest and interpret our questions, returning to rehearsal with a more well-rounded perspective. We continue to discuss the moral complexities of this play, making the world we’re playing in clearer and more vivid.

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A word I have heard a lot of recently is “Slacktivism” which is an act of showing support for a political or social cause (usually on the internet) that requires little to no effort. There is a lot of talk about wanting change, but discussions will stop at the actions required to instigate that change and at the ramifications of those actions. We rarely consider the injustices that push people who want change so passionately they feel forced to resort to violence. We rarely consider the moral, physical, and psychological toll that committing an act of revolution or terror would have on our loved ones and ourselves. This play sheds a light on a radical idea and challenges the audience to come face to face with its questions and uncertainties.

See Peter in The Just from March 5 to March 26, 2016.

Peter Fernandes photo: Daniel Malavasi. Illustration: Gracia Lam.

About Soulpepper Theatre Company

Soulpepper, one of Canada's largest urban theatres, is an artist-centred company that celebrates the stories that move us and the artists who tell them. Soulpepper presents vital Canadian interpretations of the classics, and commissions, translates, and develops new work, creating a home for a diverse array of artistic expression across disciplines.

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