Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: (Montreal) Phaedra Project

(photo by Neil Scotten)

The Phædra Project: love stories framed by a pool of water
Sarah Deshaies

The story of Phædra, the second wife of Theseus, has been explored in countless re-tellings. Married to a king of Athens, she falls for his son, Hippolytus, only to be rejected by the younger man. Add in a few untruths and some revenge, and Hippolytus turns out dead and she turns out incredibly remorseful.

In this version of Phaedra, two solitary figures fill out different roles, acting in separate spaces that clash together in venn diagram-like motions.

This is The Phædra Project (No! I! Don’t! Want! To! Fall! In! Love! With! You!), a brainchild of 
Nervous Hunter (handle of director Sophie Gee).

Gee has set up her Phædra (Jacqueline Van De Geer) and Hippolytus (Nicolas Patry) in a shallow pool of water, eventually leaving them wetter than Rose and Jack in a post-Titanic Atlantic. The visual effect is stunning, with ripples of water reflecting subtly off the stage wall. The lighting, by Vincent de Repentigny, is evocative, as is the sound design by Martin Rodriguez, which utilizes water drops to great effect.

At the outset, Phædra is recounting a girlhood crush on a history teacher, a certain surly Mr Sorenson. The opening is one of the highlights, both because of van de Geer’s deft delivery and the light yet very real touch about it. 

The rest of the show is a pastiche, bobs and ends of the story weaving and floating together to paint a sad, amorphous story. Patry is a hulking, mostly-silent performer, but a fluid dancer, with electric movements; van de Geer is quite elegant in her torment and resolve.

Note: sit in the third row and above if you do not want to risk being splashed.
Run Time - 50 minutes, no intermission

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