Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: (Montreal) La preuve ontologique de mon existence

Into Darkness
by Élaine Charlebois

In the opening scene of La preuve ontologique de mon existence, a piece inspired by the works of great American author Joyce Carol Oates, we find a tormented Shelley (Nora Guerch) trapped in a dingy basement room of a condemned building. Having been put there by her abusive lover and captor Peter V. (Frédéric Lavallée), Shelley has become the object of his manipulation and violence. She is caught up in a twisted feeling of loyalty and fear of Peter, and thus fails to escape her prison. And although her tormentor has decided to marry her off to a creepy stranger named Martin Raven, Shelley remains under Peter’s spell, hypnotized by his rhetoric that her existence is irrelevant and worthless. 

Though the three male characters in the play were strong, Guerch’s Shelley was by far the standout performance. Guerch’s intense portrayal was at once mesmerizing and disturbing. The actress both physically and emotionally embodied Shelley’s inner crisis, captivating the audience with her raw performance. Lavallée was also successful in his depiction of a scuzzy and dangerous predator, but much like his fellow male actors in the show, his performance was outshined by the strong female lead. Guerch’s intensity was so real and compelling that it cast a feeling of unease over the audience from the beginning of the play. The actress’s highly energetic portrayal of one of Oates’s many complex characters in La prevue ontologique de mon existence definitely made for a powerful and emotionally trying piece.

La preuve ontologique de mon existence runs to October 11 

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