Review: Lullaby: Inside the Halifax Explosion

A new play about the Halifax Explosions tells little-known stories about the tragic event.

click to enlarge Troy Adams in Lullaby. - STOO METZ
Stoo Metz
Troy Adams in Lullaby.
Eastern Front Theatre’s latest production is just one of many events commemorating the centenary of the Halifax Explosion. Unlike the usual stories of disaster and relief, Karen Bassett’s delicate play does something new with the familiar story.

Lullaby begins with three characters in a room in the aftermath of the explosion: a black man from Africville (Troy Adams), a young Mi’kmaw woman from Turtle Grove (Lisa Nasson) and a white woman from the Protestant orphanage in Halifax. (Mauralea Austin). Each character has a different understanding about what has just happened, and conflicting prejudices about one another.  Bassett’s script does a remarkable job of providing a snapshot of race relations in Halifax at the time of the explosion, and does so organically and through astute, concise dialogue. It is illuminating, informative, but also compassionate and beautifully told.

Each of the performances are compelling and paint vivid portraits of three individuals brought together by circumstance. The sound and lighting design, along with the venue of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, adds an air of historicity to the proceedings.

If there is one play that has emerged out of the stories of the Halifax Explosion that can be called definitive, there is a strong argument that Lullaby should be it. Let this be the show that tours schools, that tells the story of the diversity of people affected in myriad ways by the trauma of the Halifax Explosion.

Lullaby: Inside the Halifax Explosion
Written by Karen Bassett
Directed by Koumbie
Featuring Troy Adams, Mauralea Austin and Lisa Nasson
Presented by Eastern Front Theatre
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
1675 Lower Water St.
Until Dec. 10th

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