Province (by Mathieu Gosselin, trans. Nadine Desrouches, and directed by Stacey Christodoulou) is an epic dystopian rant against the race to destroy this planet. The characters are caught up in a symbolic provincial space where the animals and plants are morphing into angry beasts about to ravage the humans.
Each of the personae seems to symbolize an aspect of contemporary society. There is the unbridled narcissistic couple who spend a great deal of time admiring their lifestyle, bodies, each other and endlessly, themselves. There is a small lost depressive girl who stumbles on their enclave and almost inadvertently destroys it. There is a Mommy figure played with plaintive longing by France Rolland who gives a very poignant performance as the Mommy who deserts her children in search of paradise and then discovers that to be alone there is hell. Natalie Tannous is an insatiable young woman who can’t seem to find what she wants anywhere. Stephanie Buxton gave a special performance as Hide, the sister obsessed with the carcasses of animals that are changing into something horrible. She is the Cassandra of the piece who keeps warning the approach of imminent doom to her deaf and video game obsessed brothers who still call out for their Mommy. The two brothers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy playing video games and filming the inanity of this activity.
It is a fresh punk-like take on dystopia, and Christadoulou does generate interesting moments. The cardio sex was especially hilarious. However the so called poetry either did not translate or the writing was too sophomoric to sustain the plot. It sounded like something written on a bad acid trip by a very young poet who did not believe in second drafts. Even the repetitive “vomit inducing wall paper” started to be an almost self fulfilling mantra for the two hour play with no intermission. There is no doubt that the theme is more than relevant in a city where our sewers are literally being dumped into the river which surrounds us. But somehow the pace and repetitiveness overshadowed the themes, including the Cain and Able moment which could have been more poignant.
The set should not be a point of interest in a play of ideas and politics. But this one was a literal presentation of the above mentioned wall paper and the audience was forced to watch it for much too long. When Mommy appears in paradise and the flowers and leaves are plastic, one wonders how this can possibly contrast with the wall paper.
There were many outstanding actors in this play, Jennifer Roberts as Kimmie the almost suicidal little girl was very convincing, Eloi Archambaudoin was perfect as the self obsessed plastic man. The direction was limited by a strangely awkward script and a very uninspired set.
Province runs until October 17, Wednesday to Saturday, 8:30 p.m., matinee on October 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Centaur Theatre (453 St. François-Xavier).Box office 514 288-3161 or purchase online at the Centaur box office. Tickets 28$/25$ students