Undercurrents 2014 – CISEAUX

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Told you I saw two shows last night…and now, after being tired last night and slow this morning, here comes my second check-in from this years UNDERCURRENTS, the little festival that Pat built.  The other show I caught was BROKEN, a heartfelt and awesome show that I talked about already.  For this post, we’re going into always amazing French Theatre territory, the first time Undercurrents has made the barrel-roll through the language barrier, and it’s about time, I say.

The show, which originated at the regular Carte Blanche series that takes place at l’espace Rene-Prevost across the river, was CISEAUX from Theatre Rouge Ecarlate.  The first work from an obviously cool new collective, Ciseaux was created by Lisa L’Heureux, and stars Lissa Leger and Marie-Eve Fontaine.  Leger plays Phanie, a young student who seems to rule her school with an iron fist, and takes an immediate dislike to crumby newcomer Olivia (Fontaine).  They clash, getting Olivia in trouble with her overbearing Grandmother, and prompting her to run away.  Which in where the trouble really starts.

Lissa Leger and Marie Eve Fontaine in CISEAUX.
Lissa Leger and Marie Eve Fontaine in CISEAUX.

Or rather, this is where the play finds the trouble, a it seems to be brewing in the form of a revolution/civil war all around, and both girls find themselves caught up in it in their own fashion…Olivia ends up joining a violent band of fighters called only ‘the boys’ after they mistake her short-cut self for a lad instead of a lass.  Phanie ends up being drafted into…a different type of service.  It gets a little dark folks, but very cool dark.  Leger and Fontaine are consistently engaging and high energy as their two very different characters, each fighting a completely different path that eventually leads them back to one another. The supercool set and props are used very effectively (loved the red scarves, and those amazing windows), as well as some killer lighting and sound effects.  And for any English speakers feeling left out, rejoice…the show features English language surtitles of all the dialogue on a projection overtop the set.  No one should have any trouble following along, and no one should even think about missing this one.

This is a solid, hardcore and gorgeously crafted show, with great performances and a punch to the gut ending. Congrats to L’Heureux for making this great show accessible to all…I hope everyone takes the opportunity to get themselves some killer theatre, and support French theatre in Ottawa while you’re at it.  You’ll be pretty happy you did.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

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