Another (very different) production of Twelfth Night in Canada
by Isabelle-Ann Charlebois
A big storm causes twins Viola and Sebastien to be shipwrecked and separated. From then on, Shakespeare’s comedy sets off a confusion of genders. Viola dresses as a page called Cesario, to serve the love of her life Orsino, who dearly loves Olivia who falls in love with Cesario…What a delightful love triangle!
The stage setting is so simple and yet so complete! This play, directed by Jean-Philippe Joubert, is one that requires reflection; the floor of the stage is covered with mirrors and upstage are more hanging mirrors. Duplication, duplicity, and the multiple meaning of words are the keys in Joubert’s brilliant production of Normand Chaurette's translation. Mirrors often serve as one’s twin, mind and confidant, and wished-for self image.
Chaurette also has a way with words in both English and French. Every character is colourful in his way of thought and speech. Malvolio (Kevin McCoy) is as arrogant, condescending, hilarious and “bitchy”as you want him to be. Surprisingly for a Quebec City French-speaking audience, he speaks mainly British English intertwined with a bit of French, punctuated with many puns in both languages. Olivia’s uncle, Sir Tobie Belch (Jean-Jacqui Boutet) and his pawn Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Denis Lamontagne) make us want to party with them. They play with words, poetry and nonsense in different languages while in fact, they are just very clumsy at it; contaminating Olivia's life. Maria (Marjory Vaillancourt), Olivia’s attendant, always has an opinion and holds nothing back; she has a funny and outrageously colourful tongue.
Olivia (Anne-Marie Olivier), Orsino (Jean-Sébastien Ouellette) and Viola (Klervi Thienpont), each speak their verse with sincerity, innocence, candidness and, of course, deceitfulness—desire, love and aspiration never far away.
Feste (Olivier Normand), the fool, acts as the great link amongst all characters by using multi-languages, intonations, singing and playing the violin, all of that to near perfection. He is the soul-saver of the play. His message: just bite into life.
My message: Go see it.
At Le Trident until October 15