It’s the start of a rollicking, jam-packed week or two of theatre here in O-town…I myself have about twelve shows planned for the next 2-week span. So, do me a favour if you’re one of those ‘this town is so boring’ cats…start walking. Toronto isn’t getting any closer, and we got no use for ya here. Too much awesome shit going on for THAT sort of whiny nonsense.
And to get my theatre rollercoaster off to the right kind of start was a visit to Academic Hall at Ottawa U, for the Comedie de Deux Rives production of Fernando Arrabal’s LE CIMETIERE DES VOITURES. And brother, here’s the anti-boring right here and no fooling. Right off the bat, they dolled up the already swanky waiting area of the hall, and even had some live music to ease our impatience for the show to start (provided by the talented Shannon Rawn). It was a very solid turnout for opening night (happy to see that, even with UNDERCURRENTS launching across the way, there was still plenty of crowd to go around), and another surprise awaited once they let us in, and I tried to get a glimpse of the set. I couldn’t, because they went and put in a curtain! Oh tradition, I didn’t realize how much I’d missed you. All that stuck out of the set was a wrought iron artificial sun, dangling above the footlights from on high.
When the curtain pulled away at last, a strange, industrial cityscape awaited, filled with a background cacophony of sound created by a hidden group of actors (Danielle Savoie, Vincent Cote, Virginie Houet-Brunette and Laurianne Lehoullier, making occasional black-clad appearances onstage as a ghostly overhead projection as they work away at their noisemaking). Eventually, some actors actually DO grace the stage, each making a more memorable entrance than the last. Milos (Charles Rose), would-be Maitre’D to to the homeless population of rundown car dwellers, tries his best to keep his downtrodden customers happy…which usually seems to mean sending out sultry, overworked Dila (Caroline Lefebvre) to tend to their every need (EVERY).
Meanwhile, the stage is circled like clockwork by on overzealous pair of cop, Tiossido and Lasca (Alexandre-David Gagnon and Marie-Eve Fontaine), apparently in heavy training to catch outlaw musician Emanou (Jonathon Charlebois) and his two pals Tope and Fodere (Chloe Tremblay and Lissa Leger). If I’m making this all sound a little odd, well, first of all it IS a little odd. Second, my French still falters in places, and I probably missed a nuance or two, tho I felt like I kept up pretty well. And like most French theatre I’ve seen, the work onstage is so exciting it almost doesn’t matter if you can follow the text. Director Elif Isikozlu gets great performances and wonderful work out of her group, with memorable moments throughout. Dila’s commanding presence onstage never falters for a moment, and her constantly shifting relationship with foppish Milos is hilarious. I got a real kick out of Lssia Leger, channelling Harpo Marx into her silent portrayal of the utterly endearing Fodere. And as for our hard-working Flics Tiossido and Lasca, well, lets just say that when the training headgear comes off, watch out…things get a little steamy on stage, yo.
VOITURES is a great show, with solid performances, stunning sound work, and imagination running wild in the presentation. If you can tear yourself away from UNDERCURRENTS for a night, I couldn’t recommend this show more. And like I say, don’t worry if your French isn’t parfait…you’ll get it, trust me. Now vas-y…au theatre! Paix, amour at Ame,
Le Visiteur (et Winston, le Chat)