The One That Got Away

Co-produced with The Only Animal, in partnership with the Norman Rothstein Theatre and Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver as part of the CHUTZPAH! Festival

February 28 – March 17, 2002
Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver – Vancouver, BC

The One that Got Away is staged in a pool. It’s a play about submerged Jewish identity and the story is a liberal mix of fact and fiction inspired by Hassidic folktales, the Kabbala, and a passage from the Song of Solomon. It has an ancient theme: that love is as strong as death and that many waters cannot quench love and neither can the floods drown it. It is a descent into the truth behind a dying man’s life of lies and it answers a quest for identity for a young woman who shares her life with strangers.

You enter the building and in a sunken stairway you find a hospital room. You meet Hannah who has a fish where her heart should be – a heart that keeps getting away from her. Her grandfather Victor is on his death bed. Victor is a man of extremes: millionaire, pauper, sage, addict, exile and married seven times. He steals Hannah’s heart and takes it with him when he dies. Pursued by Victor’s seven widows, they descend from his deathbed into a watery purgatory, to a Russian village lost in a flood where Victor finds redemption by revisiting the tragedy of his youth.

The watery stage of The One that Got Away becomes the shifting, transformative world of the afterlife where underwater choreography, floating set pieces and haunting songs of Victor’s Russian homeland bubble up from his memory. Victor’s seven vengeful widows arrive in the underworld and descend fully clothed into the pool, swimming like aquatic furies toward him. At Victor’s funeral, singing mourners barge his candlelit casket along its watery course. Light casts phosphorescent ripples and shimmers onto the ceiling and walls, transforming the aquatic facility into an intimate space. And with refracting rays underwater, a magical, Atlantis-like third dimension is created below the performers.


Globe and Mail

“THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY will certainly leave you damp around the eyes. But before you cry, this life-affirming folktale will make you laugh out loud and reel you right into its shimmering oasis of theatrical delights.” (4 Stars)

Alexandra Gill, Globe and Mail




Outstanding Costume Design, Small Theatre (Kirsten McGhie and Marina Szijarto)
Larry Lillo Award for Outstanding Direction, Small Theatre (Kim Collier)
Significant Artistic Achievement, Small Theatre
(Ensemble Performance: Judi Closkey, Courtenay Dobbie, Jan Kudelka, Jonathon Young and Allan Zinyk as “The Widows”)
Outstanding Production, Small Theatre