Angoisse Cosmique ou le jour où Brad Pitt fut atteint de paranoia written by Christian Lollike and directed by Michel Nadeau was the frenzied fantasy of three friends (Emmanuel Bédard, Claude Breton-Potvin, and Hugues Frenette) as they grappled with paranoid thoughts of global warming and impending doom.
The play was a modern Siddhartha story with Brad Pitt at its center. Renouncing the consumerist sins of modern society, he journeys into the wild, learns the truth, and returns to spread the word among his fellow man. The play was surreal and abstract, without being pretentious or inaccessible.
The temptation must have been gut-grinding to make it a junkyard set, but no! Happy, happy day! It wasn’t anything particularly interesting, mind you – a few strategically placed Ikea pieces, mainly. Like almost all plays these days, there were two projection screens at the back. The projections were a mix of footage relevant to global warming, footage of the actors in real time as they filmed themselves onstage (trippy!) and a stunning, polished slideshow.
The energy wobbled quite a bit throughout the play. The characters were too weird and undefined to be relatable, but not quite weird enough to be interesting. The surrealism, humor, seriousness, and drama of the piece, rather than finding a meeting point, remained a hodge podge. On the other hand, the blurry storyline and characterization made the ideas in this play come into focus. It covered so many aspects of the social phenomenon of global warming paranoia. It took out the old clichés, questioned them, reinstated them, then questioned them again. It was ideas and feelings, not characters, that were relatable. Also, by avoiding characters that are excessively defined, we avoided the usual route of having to watch a (nubile) (young) (female) person staring in saintly horror at the awful things humanity has done. It wasn’t about trashing humanity – in fact, humanity’s flaws were looked at with compassion and exasperated affection, more than anything else.
Overall, Angoisse Cosmique was too much of a jumble to affect me. Although all of the elements were good, they didn’t produce enough energy and passion to create a lasting impression. Though everything in this piece was decent, original, and well-executed, it lacked soul.
Angoisse Cosmique ou le jour ou Brad Pitt fut atteint de paranoia plays at La Licorne (4559, avenue Papineau) until May 24. T-Th 7 p.m., F 8 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m. $33/22. Show is in French.