The starting point is King Lear. The three women and one man talk about their own relationships to their fathers: how to gain their respect, what their expectations are for their old age, how their interact with their grandchildren. Passages from Lear are read and deconstructed. One father offers a mathematical formula for the handover of property (Lear should have dispensed it bit by bit, he says). The bravest investment is by the fathers, who did not ask to be put on stage and are not comfortable with baring their emotions.
It is also funny and fun and some of the best moments are when the actors are all singing.
This is a lovely piece to look at - the fathers sit in armchairs on the side of the stage but are also projected behind the action so we can always see their faces and their reactions (heads shaking, eyebrows raised). The only trouble is that the performance is in German. Surtitles are projected but they are so high that unless you are sitting at the back of the theatre you are constantly adjusting your eyes between the action and the translation, which distracts from the overall effect.
The best thing about Testament is that it is so chock full of ideas and ambitions that there is plenty to think about. Unlike some productions, which are entertaining and easily forgettable, this performance is something to mull over.
Testament has two remaining shows, Saturday Jan 25th at SFU Woodwards at 4pm and 8pm.