From Eden to Legoland

For several years, Amitai Marmorstein has periodically donned a drab brown uniform, complete with long stockings, shorts,vest and tie and Harry Potter glasses.

Thus garbed as 13-year-old schoolboy, he joins Celine Stubel, as his similarly-attired 16-year-old sister, to tell the story of Legoland.

“These two siblings, Penny and Ezra Lamb, grew up on Elysium, this communal farm where everyone is a nudist and it’s all very hippy … this sort of bohemian paradise,” Marmorstein explains.

“I grew up on Saltspring Island myself, which is pretty much exactly the same as Elysium,” he adds with a laugh.

So, what has brought Ezra and Penny to the highly-regimented atmosphere of a Catholic boarding school?

Therein lies a tale—or several—that the youngsters unspool in the course of Jacob Richmond’s 65-minute comedy, along with ukulele riffs, bits of puppetry and even a taste of gangster rap.

Richmond wrote the play in 2004 as a student production at the University of Victoria. He and Britt Small, who shares directing duties with him on Legoland, went on to found the Atomic Vaudeville company.

Besides monthly caberet performances in Victoria, the company has also produced a number of successful plays—including Ride the Cyclone, which played last year in Whitehorse.

The basic premise of Legoland, (as the young communards call the big-box world outside Elysium), is that Penny has to deliver a public service presentation on juvenile delinquency as penance for a crime Marmorstein coyly declines to explain.

He calls the piece “a vaudeville routine in one act” that is directly addressed to the audience.

“It’s an interesting genre, because it’s definitely a comedy and there’s a lot of tragedy in it, but it’s that type of play where there’s no fourth wall at all,” he says.

“The characters are just as aware of the audience as the audience is aware of the characters.”

Along the way, we learn how the pair used to sneak away to the nearby Walmart, and how they inadvertently got Elysium busted for its agricultural activites.

We also learn about Penny’s teenaged obsession with Johnny Moon, the lead singer with an “ultra-sincere” boy band.

“When her idol reinvents himself as a violent gangster rapper, the two of them set off on a tour of America to try and confront him and sort of help him find the truth path that he’s lost,” Marmorstein explains.

Mayhem ensues for the somewhat biblically-named siblings.

“There’s some really interesting religious sort of references in the show. Obviously, none of it is explicit in the script, but I think that’s definitely part of it. They’re just this couple of lambs to the slaughter, in a way.”

And is there any significance to the brown uniforms the former love-children are forced to wear in the boarding school?

“That’s a very interesting idea. To a certain extent, that kind of makes sense. It’s a very fascist place in a lot of ways,” Marmorstein muses.

Still, he’s reluctant to pursue the notion too far.

“Jacob gets mad at me whenever I do interviews where I’ll say at least one thing where I totally get it wrong,” he says.

Marmorstein hopes that Legoland may someday tour with Ride the Cyclone, which he refers to as “kind of an unofficial sequel” to the play he’s been doing since first year university.

“It takes place in the same universe, at the same sort of school and stuff.”

Being self-described as “musically-challenged”, the Vancouver actor has never played in the six-character musical.

But he’s quite content to keep morphing into 13-year-old Ezra Lamb as long as he can.

“It’s a story that I just totally love telling, and it’s a character I love playing. I love to show it to a new audience whenever we get the chance.”

Legoland will be at the Old Fire Hall for six performances from September 25-28, with 8 p.m. shows each night and 5:30 p.m. shows on Thursday and Friday.

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