Sunday, January 23, 2011

Theatre: La Belle et la bete

I haven't been posting many reviews or descriptions of fairy tale theatre productions. Honestly, there are so many that it takes a while to find some that appear to offer unique or unusual takes on the tales which is my primary criteria for posting them. Then there's the time it takes to create the post and this hasn't appeared to be one of the more popular SurLaLune blog themes.  That said, I've found a few recently and wanted to share. 

From a review by Pat Donnelly for La Belle et la bete being performed in Montreal as interpreted by Michel Lemieux, Victor Pilon and Pierre Yves Lemieux at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde:

This La Belle is a dedicated 21st-century visual artist rather than an obedient, aspiring bride.

As in a Diana Gabaldon novel, the love affair between her and La Bête reaches beyond time. A modern woman falls for a 3,000-year-old recluse.

What they have in common is their solitude. La Belle, having recently lost her mother in an accident, specializes in scarred female nudes, which she splashes with red paint. (A very Wajdi Mouawad moment.)

For comic relief, there’s a size-shifting female hologram (a sister who seems more like a mother, played by Violette Chauveau) offering chatty advice.

For mystery, there’s the phantom horse (an escapee from Cavalia?) that floats in to lead La Belle to La Bête, so she can return a rose medallion borrowed for artistic inspiration.

Besides the rose and the horse, other symbols from the traditional story, like the magic gloves appear, within altered contexts. Statues (Peter James, on screen, in multiples) come to life. The castle’s thorny forest grows beyond the proscenium and threatens to engulf the audience, as does the pseudo rain, which falls in a torrent.

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