Nostalgia and newbies combine for Morpheus Theatre’s entertaining staging of The Graduate

Writer Caroline Russell-King offers her Postcard Review of Morpheus Theatre’s production of the ’60s classic The Graduate.

Show: The Graduate.

Playwright: Play adapted by Terry Johnson, based on the novel by Charles Webb and the motion picture by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry.

Production company/theatre space: Morpheus Theatre in the Joyce Doolittle Theatre at the Pumphouse Theatres.

Length: Two acts (two hours and 15 minutes with one intermission.)

Genre(s): Drama.

Premise: A young man grapples with sex, infatuation, and love with a mother and daughter.

Why this play? Why now?: A reminder of a simpler time with complicated mores. 

Curiosities: I wondered how the set could have been designed to eliminatethe “brown shuffles,” where we sit and watch the moving of furniture, props, in half light. I wondered why some did the scene changes in character, others in over-the-top characters, and others are neutral. I also wondered about wigs (but I’ve been doing that a lot lately). Was it symbolic that the daughter wore a black bra under her white wedding dress to emulate her mother? 

Notable moment: The Shining face in the broken door with the axe was funny.

Notable writing: The play more or less follows the arc of the original story. It still seems filmic with the change of locations at times.

Notable performances: The Robinsons are a delightfully entertaining family. Mrs. Robinson (Leanne Million), her husband (D. Adam Jamieson) and daughter (Alex Watz) do a fine job. It would be hard for any actor to follow the iconic role created by Dustin Hoffman for the film, much less an actor, such as Oderin Tobin, who is having his debut on the stage outside of school.

Notable design/production: Kudo to Liz Schieman, stage manager who had to keep track of all those set pieces and props!

Notable direction: Recent graduate Danelle White keeps everyone moving, but I didn’t understand all of her choices. One time it appears that the mother is in the same scene as the shenanigans and the audience gasps but she is in another place and time. There was sometimes split focus with characters acting in dumb-show. Some actors are allowed to play their characters over the top which didn’t always gel with their more natural counterparts.

One reason to see this show: Nostalgia with the Robinsons with a side of Simon & Garfunkel!

The Graduate runs at the Pumphouse Theatre until  Feb. 15. For tickets and showtimes please go to

Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here at