After catching The History Boys last week at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, I have to agree wholeheartedly with Jon from Beyond Robson who wrote, “the play is easily the most intellectually engaging thing I’ve seen on a Vancouver stage in years, and is almost flawlessly delivered by director Dean Paul Gibson and his cast and crew.”
For those who may not have already deduced, I love history and for that matter, I loved history class. From AP European History to Canadian Studies, I ate it all up in high school. In The History Boys, classmates at the all-boys school are clever, intelligent and incessantly witty while their teachers attempt to mold them into perfect Oxbridge material. Oxbridge being a mashup of Cambridge and Oxford, as the play is set in England.
Mrs. Lintott: And you, Rudge? How do you define history?
Rudge: Can I speak freely without being hit?
Mrs. Lintott: You have my protection.
Rudge: How do I define history? Well it’s just one f’ing thing after another.
The passionate debates, the laugh out loud and groan-worthy humour, and yes, even the pantless scenes were all priceless. Matter of the heart, matters of art, and talk of Auden, Orwell and Hardy – I was so inspired by The History Boys that I went to my bookshelf (parted the frames that held our lovely wedding photos) and dusted of The Return of the Native, Far from the Madding Crowd, and Jude the Obscure.
Hector: The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.
It’s also worthy to note the production value of the play, the stage setup and the music. If you’d like to check out this Tony Award winner for yourself, it will be showing until October 25th on Granville Island. Tickets are available online or at the box office.