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North York’s Cara Ricketts’s inner strength ignites Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming this summer at Stratford

North York’s Cara Ricketts’s inner strength ignites Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming this summer at Stratford

Cara Ricketts

It took an old chestnut—a raisin, actually—for Toronto theatregoers to appreciate Cara Ricketts’ ability to breathe new life into familiar roles. In Soulpepper’s A Raisin in the Sun (2008), she embodied both the all-American youthful ambition and sexuality of Beneatha, a young medical school–bound woman in 1950s Chicago, and the aching realities of the mid-century black middle class. It was a breakthrough performance for the North York native, who had already made an impression on the fringe. In 2005, after graduating from the theatre performance program at Humber College, she brought poetry to the role of Peggy Sue, an embattled woman caught between two men in Joseph Jomo Pierre’s Born Ready, a lyrical look at Toronto ghetto life. This summer, after two years in essential-to-the-plot but non-leading roles at Stratford, the 28-year-old takes centre stage alongside such heavyweights as Stephen Ouimette and Brian Dennehy in Jennifer Tarver’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. She plays Ruth, the American wife of a British academic, whose visit to her husband’s male-dominated homestead awakens the horny beast among siblings and father alike. Though Ruth switches emotional and sexual alliances throughout the play, the balance of power remains firmly in her hands—she is both an object of desire and, in a characteristically Pinteresque gesture, a mythical female figure in a world of men. It’s ideal material for the wide-ranging Ricketts, whose emotional intelligence as a performer conjures up so much more than the physical world of her characters.

THEATRE The Homecoming Aug. 11 to Oct. 30, Previews July 26 Stratford

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