Love, family, connection explored in The Troll Grandfather

Vancouver-based Axis Theatre bring Clem Martini’s original tale to the Revelstoke stage

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The Troll Grandfather by Axis Theatre comes to the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 3. Photo: Axis Theatre

Axis Theatre returns to Revelstoke with The Troll Grandfather, a play that explores how we can over come differences, connect generations and learn to love.

Written by award-winning Canadian playwright and author Clem Martini, the story follows nine-year-old Sandy Nardini as she is forced to stay with her grandfather for an entire summer after her single mother becomes ill. Less than pleased with this arrangement, Sandy discovers a secret that will change her life forever — her grandpa is a troll! Soon after the pair embark on a dangerous adventure to claim Sandy’s magical birthright.

Chris McGregor, Axis Theatre’s artistic director, says what makes The Troll Grandfather special is its uniqueness and how the audience can connect with the various themes explored during the 45-minute performance.

Thomas Conlin Jones and Sarah May Redmond star in The Troll Gandfather. Photo: Jayda Paige Photography

“It came out of Clem Martini’s relationship with his daughter’s daughter. He wanted to write a play about the generational skip,” said McGregor. “He wanted to explore something real to him.”

The Troll Grandfather not only explores themes of family, but also of discovering traditions and heritage, as Sandy discovers she is one-quarter troll, something her mother has hidden from her.

“Her mother has kept that part of her heritage away from her because she didn’t want other kids to make fun of Sandy. It’s an allegory for kids from blended families, or people discovering First Nations heritage and finding relatives,” said McGregor. “At the very end Clem wrote a speech about now she knows who she is, going through the traditions and heritage of being a troll, she’s a much happier person. In the beginning she was very frustrated.”

Thomas Conlin Jones and Sarah May Redmond. Photo: Jayda Paige Photography

The storyline also explores the relationship between Sandy and her grandfather, following along from its strained beginning to the end, when the two become friends. McGregor said one thing the play really attempts to explore is the generational gap.

“It’s not done a lot in touring shows, representing an older generation,” he said.

Alongside the sometimes complex themes are bits of physical theatre (the characters wind through the audience as they embark on an adventure), bits of pop culture and music. Oh, and there’s the 12-foot dragon — a cool mix of scary but not too scary, with some incredibly funny lines.

Revelstoke Arts Council executive director Miriam Manley said she is pleased to have Axis Theatre return to the stage. This will mark the third time the Vancouver-based theatre company will perform in Revelstoke.

“They always do a great show with brilliant costumes, original story-lines that are engaging with contemporary issues and themes,” she said.

Part of the Revelstoke Arts Council’s Family Series, The Troll Grandfather by Clem Martini takes place at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children (plus online service fee) and can be purchased at revelstokeartscouncil.com, The Visitor Information Centre or at the door. Please note this performance is suitable for children ages 8 and older.

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