Starring Irene Poole, Pamela Sinha. Written by John Mighton. Directed by Chris Abraham. Tarragon Theatre to Dec. 16.
Time is like the wind—you can’t see it, only what it touches. So says young Kate to her mother in John Mighton’s The Little Years, a play that maps out its chronology from the 1950s onwards through changing fashions, graying hair, and the evolving attitudes of both its central characters and the society they live in. A mathematician as well as a playwright, Mighton explores his own insecurities around science and art through Kate (played as an adult by Irene Poole), whose early love of science is deterred by gender-related pressures, and Grace (Pamela Sinha), who struggles to find an identity outside of being the wife of Kate’s brother, a successful poet. Tarragon’s remount of the original 2011 Stratford Festival production is as intellectually inspiring as it is beautiful, thanks to Mighton’s words, Kimberly Purtell’s geometry-inspired lighting, Julie Fox’s design, Chris Abraham’s masterful direction, and crisp performances. These elements work together to create a breathtaking payoff that’s even greater than the sum of its parts.