Presented by Western University’s Arts and Humanities Students’ Council and directed by Julia Sebastien, David Ives’ emotional and thought provoking drama The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza is on stage at TAP Center for Creativity on Dundas.

Author David Ives originally published this acclaimed play in 2009 under the full title New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation, Amsterdam, July 27, 1656. Since there are no historical transcripts from the intellectual persecution of the philosopher Spinoza, this play hypothesizes the proceedings with captivating results.

The Interrogation Of Baruch De Spinoza - (promotional photo)
The Interrogation Of Baruch De Spinoza – (promotional photo)

TAP’s modest venue is ideal for this play. Characters are hidden amongst the crowd who speak out suddenly, not just breaking the fourth wall but smashing through it, making you wonder if it exists at all.

You are not just a spectator of the play but, a member of the congregation.

A real thinker

Ives’ dialogue is permeated with philosophical wonderings and ideas but, imbedded with enough humor and drama to avoid seeming tedious or esoteric. In this way, it reminded me of one of my favorite films, I Heart Huckabees. Similar to that movie, the play is teeming with serious questions like: Can you call a society free if there are rules to what you can or cannot say? What are acceptable reasons to give up intellectual freedoms? Once given up, can you take liberties back?

The story’s countdown to finale brought emotional and inspired performances by the actors. When it was time for each actor to bow, it was tough to remember they were actors, well worthy of applause and not heroes, villains or something between.

Kevin Heslop’s deserves special recognition for his nuanced and mesmerizing performance as Rabbi Saul Levi Morteria.

Performance Dates & Times:
Friday February 1,  8 PM
Saturday February 2,  2 PM
Saturday February 2,  8 PM

Runtime: 2 hours (includes a 15 minute intermission)

Tickets: $15 General Admission

Tickets available online.

Tickets also available for purchase at the box office at 203 Dundas or by phoning 519-642-2767.
Box office opens one hour prior to each performance to purchase tickets at the door.

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