Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: (Quebec City) Aiguilles et Opium

Mind-blowing; mind-boggling
by Isabelle-Ann Charlebois

Once again director Robert Lepage fills us with wonder with his hypnotic multimedia projections. We are transported in literal and figurative terms between Paris and New York, 1949-89, and also between lost loves and addictions. Notions of hypnotism, hypnotist and hypnotized are well represented by sets and projections and by the actors’ play and characters’ thoughts and lines. The rotating stage takes us deep into the characters’ hearts, minds and even the absences they are surviving.

Jean Cocteau (Marc Labrèche) is often suspended from the rafters and surrounded by a starry sky, taking us with him, into him, deep in his thoughts about life and about his lost love, the poet Radiguet.  Through Labrèche’s acting and words we can almost feel the wellbeing that opium procures. At other times, Labrèche plays Robert, a Quebec actor who escaped to Paris after a breakup. Living in La Louisianne Hotel, room number 9, where once stayed Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Robert struggles with the desire to be rehabbed from his love for the girl. What unifies the play is the music and glimpses of the life of Miles Davis and his addiction to heroin and the chanteuse Juliette Greco. 

Even if the subject is often very heavy, Lepage brings out lightness throughout the play and Labrèche makes us laugh as well. This is a must see here, or in Toronto.

This Ex Machina production is at le Théâtre du Trident in French until October 18th
The production subsequently tours to Toronto at Canadian Stage as Needles and Opium November 22-December 1

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