Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: (Quebec City) L'Odysée

Sensuality, rage, courage and determination
By Isabelle-Ann Charlebois
This was a magnificent "Season of Women" at Le Trident.  Even with this last production, an adaptation of The Odyssey, L'Odysée, every female actor fills the space in Martin Genest's production.Yes, we know that Ulysses' two-decade voyage was a hell of a journey but so too was the path of the women left behind -  one scattered with tears, hope and sorrow.
Genest’s adaptation is brilliant; a confusion entangling courage, determination but also fanaticism and zealotry. Through Ulysse (Christian Michaud), we see the valour - the determination to get back home to his loved ones no matter what - to see his wife - Pénélope (Sophie Dion) - again. We feel his devotion and we sympathize with him.
But then there are those waiting women: Pénélope and Ulysse's mother Anticlée (Denise Gagnon). Dion is thrilling as Pénélope - reflecting hope, endurance and perseverance - fighting against all young wandering pretenders who wish for the throne and the beautiful queen who goes with it. Gagnon offers a clean image of pride in her son, also sees in him a fanatic drive to satisfy his needs despite his kingly and husband’s duties.  Even through the pride we sense that she reproaches his absence and his self-centeredness. When she learns he was not lost at sea but was instead having a series of adventures (Cyclops, Éole, Circé and Calypso), we feel the full force of the mother's rage.
Virginie Leclerc’s costumes are magnificent with the tough guys dressed in leather and knee boots, the women and goddesses very sensual and extravagant. The set by Marie-Renée Bourget Harvey is very clever, manipulated by the men in the play to represent all kinds of scenes, actions and events - even the spider web of a dress of one goddess.
Ultimately, this is a perfect finale to an amazingly strong season for the company.

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