Elkhana Talbi, Marc Dalpé (photo by Mathieu Girard)
Home Fronts in The War on Terror
by Élaine Charlebois
In II (Deux), Mercier (Jean-Marc Dalpé), an experienced police officer whose trust of his Muslim wife Maha, (Elkahna Talbi), begins to waver with the advent of the War on Terror era. The simplistic set is meant to emulate two separate interrogation rooms in which each character takes turns revealing their story and how their relationship became poisoned by the crippling xenophobia that emerged in the wake of 9/11. Infected by the collective paranoia that led many to fear and doubt the intentions of Muslims around the world, Mercier begins to suspect that his wife is somehow involved with terrorists due to her multiple work trips outside of the country. Though Maha does in fact have something to hide from her husband, it is not at all related to his irrational assumptions.
In this piece, Talbi gives us a strong performance as a woman who is traumatized and tortured by her husband’s accusations. The actress managed to convey anxiousness and unease when her character is faced with a husband who has become bigoted and paranoid of his own wife. One of Talbi’s strengths in the play was when she delivered bursts of anger and frustration toward the situation her character has found herself in. Dalpé was also quite strong in II (Deux). He embodied his character of a deeply troubled man who has lost faith in the world very well. Though I wasn’t fond of the directorial choice to have Dalpé deliver his monologue as though he were addressing agents in an interrogation cell, the actor nevertheless succeeded in giving the audience a highly intense performance. His elocution and body language were especially strong and brought life to his character.
Overall, the piece was good. Though the storyline may have been a bit over the top, it nevertheless raised some important issues, namely the collective paranoia and xenophobia that continue to plague our society. Considering that we live in a time when a bill like the Charter of Quebec Values is considered by our government to be a valid and just piece of legislation, this piece serves as a great social commentary.
II (Deux) runs to November 8
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