Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: (Quebec City) Frankenstein

Christian Michaud (photo credit Vincent Champoux)

The Creature
Shouldn’t beauty be blind?
by Isabelle-Ann Charlebois

The play opens with an almost naked creature (Christian Michaud) trying to come alive.  As the apparent quadriplegic tries to stand up, I feel sick to my stomach. It is an endless beginning, I want to go home already.

Then Victor Frankenstein (Étienne Pilon) arrives and sees the creature agonizing on the floor. He looks amazed, but also scared.  The hideousness of his creation repulses him and he runs away, leaving the poor beast by itself.  It finally gets up on its feet; nothing to make me feel better as I cannot bear seeing stitches, blood or suffering.

Finally, it comes to me: How beautiful life can look through the eyes of a blind person.

The creature finally goes out in the streets and it’s as if we are watching Michael Jackson’s video "Thriller".  Walking-dead are coming out of an alley on the stage. Good grief what next? As the play progresses, the horror slowly fades, ceding to the beauty of a mentally growing Creature which begins to walk and communicate.  But too soon it realizes that everyone is different.  Is it the beginning or a struggle towards the end? As the cursed Creature reaches a certain level of intelligence, it understands that there is something wrong with his reflexion, his image. Then the play changes tone when the Creature meets with a blind old man. 

Finally, it comes to me: How beautiful life can look through the eyes of a blind person. It makes us rethink how we look at others and how we treat them. This encounter is the turning point in the Creature’s life and in the play.

The text written by Nick Dear after Mary Shelly’s novel and originally presented in London directed by Danny Boyle, is directed here by Jean Leclerc and smoothly translated by Maryse Warda. The work insists on self-examination. The dialogue offers an excellent exchange on love, differences, obsessions and abandonment.  It also shows the power to give life but also to take it back.

Where do we stand: Are we the beast or the creator? Do we have the right to toy with human life?

Another star of the piece is Michel Gauthier's design: mountains which rotate to reveal sets, suggest the highs and lows of one's lifetime.

The bonds between Frankenstein and his Creature are further suggested by the two lead actors - Michaud and Pilon - exchanging the roles from night to night - as was the case in London.

I came out of this gothic yet fantastic play strangely both stuffed and drained by its ideas and presentation.

At Le Trident until February 9th. This is a co-production with Montreal's Théâtre Denise-Pelletier and will be presented there in March

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.