The GCTC’s The Burden of Self Awareness … Is Anything But A Burden

Adultery, prostitution, murder, corruption: it has it all.  While it sounds like the latest episode of Game of Thrones, it isn’t. It’s even better. It is the latest GCTC production, the world premiere of The Burden of Self Awareness, by George F. Walker .It is bold, vulgar and absolutely brilliant. It is also the play’s world premiere.

Michael is a middle-aged, wealthy man, who, after a brush with death, decides to give away his fortune, much to the chagrin of his wife, Judy, who is determined to stop him. She recruits her crazy psychiatrist lover Stan, and a reluctant hit man, Phil, who, as it turns out was hired by her husband to follow her around. Throw in a clever call girl, Lianne, and the circle of deceit takes some funny twists. You expect no less from Walker.


The plot is so fast moving, so funny, so enticing in its debauchery, you never want it to end.  The first half flies by so fast you’re stunned when intermission comes.  It is that good. The ending leaves you hanging a bit but who knows, that might lead to a sequel, which would be fantastic.

The acting will blow you away. Some of the stalwarts of the Ottawa theatre scene, including Paul Rainville and John Koensgen, grace the stage. Rainville offers up a fabulously pathetic Stan, the sex-addicted, immoral psychiatrist who you can’t help but like, abhor and feel sorry for all at once thanks to Rainville’s incredible performance. Sarah McVie is splendid as the materialistic, self-absorbed, selfish wife Judy. Samantha Madely is super as the clever call girl Lianne and Koensgen, as usual, does not disappoint as Phil, the God-fearing, funny, immoral private investigator/hitman.


Hats off too to Eric Coates, GCTC’s artistic director who took on the role of Michael. He should get in front of the curtain more often.

The Burden of Self Awareness runs until June 22.