A late-night quickie post for you all, because I gotta work early and the show I’m writing about only has one performance to go. Time is of the essence, yo! And even though it’s a show billed as being aimed at ages 12 and up, I can honestly vouch for the ‘and up’ part. Having burned my way through pretty much every scrap of English Theatre this town has to offer LAST week (and I even saw GOD OF CARNAGE a second time last night, in volunteer capacity), it was time to head on back to the NAC for some more in their French series, which in my brief time attending has impressed the Hell out of me. Tonight’s show was in the studio but, this being French Theatre, of course they couldn’t just let us in the front door.
Down the stairs we were brought (the second time in a row that’s happened at a French NAC show, and I kinda like it…), then told to take off our shoes and make our way into the studio from the rear of the stage for Daniel Danis’ KIWI, where actors and puppeteers Dany LeFrancois and Sara Moisan of la Tortue Noire were awaiting, peddling a table full of knickknacks and apparent junk to the entering crowd. Some of the folks really got into it, haggling for this and that while the show waited to begin. Eventually we settled down, the backdrop went up, and a beautiful and heartfelt story started to unfold.
My poor French notwithstanding, it seemed to be the tale of young runaway Kiwi, who is taken in by an underground (literally) collective/gang. Her saviour is punk hero Litchi, who takes a quick shine to blue-bonnetted Kiwi. Stealing and prostituting themselves to survive, and under constant threat by the secret police (who want to clear they land they’re occupying to build an Olympic Village), the entire story is told via adapted objects on and under the main table (a theme at NAC French Theatre?), including a lot of finger figures, licence plate buildings, and the most sinister fucking Mickey Mouse EVER. Featuring scenes of absolutely childlike imaginative beauty (how they pull off a day in the park is just gorgeous) to desperately stark and brutal reality, this is DIY theatre that’s right up my alley. Reminiscent once again of Ottawa’s Mi Casa Theatre, which is a VERY GOOD THING, need I remind you. LeFrancois and Moisan are utterly charming as our somewhat hard luck heroes, assisted ably by some killer sound and lighting from Michel and Isabeau Cote, all under the direction of Guylaine Rivard. A solid show, clocking in at less than an hour, but it’ll stay with you for plenty longer. It’s always great to be reminded how few limits there really are on storytelling, and la Tortue Noire do that impressively in KIWI.
As I said, as of this writing, there’s only one more performance at the NAC, Saturday night at 8pm. Even if your French sucks, I’d urge you to check it out. And remember to wear clean socks. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)