‘Children of Eden’ provides heavenly performance

It may not be Broadway, but the Scarborough Music Theatre puts on a show that could give the big stage a run for its money.

The première performance of Children of Eden on Feb. 11 relied on raw talent rather than elaborate sets and fancy costumes to bring down the house.

The production made use of innovative tactics to overcome budgetary constraints, and the modest approach allowed for the story, as well as the music, to be the focus.

The theatre became designated as a charitable organization last year, but acquiring funds to run a community production is always a challenge.

“For the most part, our money is whatever money we get from selling tickets,” said Jason Silzer, president of the theatre and director of the musical.

He said the theatre also earns money through donations and grants.

The production is based on a book by John Caird and loosely on the Book of Genesis, but there is more to the story than just religious theology.

Silzer said one of the reasons he was attracted to the story was that he found there was an ability to connect to the subject matter on many different levels.

“You need to have it relate to personal experience, and because it’s about family, that’s why it connects to the audience and why it connects to the actors,” he said.

Silzer, who has been an actor for many years, made his directorial debut with the musical and said he couldn’t be more thrilled with how it went.

“I was more nervous today not being on stage than I’ve ever been on stage,” he said. “And then they started singing, and they got through the first number and the applause happened, and I just sat there going, ‘It’s going to be a good show.’ ”

Silzer credits the show’s success to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, all of whom work on a volunteer basis.

Many have day jobs, coming to the theatre on their evenings and weekends, and are part of the production because they have a passion for theatre.

“Every single person is here and involved in the show because they love theatre and they love being involved in the shows,” Silzer said.

Their passion did not go unnoticed, as one woman in the audience said she enjoyed the performance so much she felt like getting up on stage and participating herself.

This is not to say the show had no flaws, as noted by a few critics during a question and answer period.

The cast and crew, however, saw the critiques as constructive criticism and as a means to improve.

There will be several more performances over the next week until the final curtain on Feb. 27.

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