We Walk Among You/Nous marchons parmi vous is shocking at times. This is not a typical puppet show. This play treads a fine line between sympathy and shock and draws you in very quickly. The creators of the piece, Artichoke Heart from Toronto, specialize in working with non-traditional puppetry techniques and in pushing the boundaries of what they can do with them. They have succeeded impressively with this show. Considering that this is an entirely non verbal show, this makes the range of emotion that you will feel throughout all the more impressive.
The premise starts us off in a castle inhabited by little weird puppet creatures, where a mad scientist is getting more and more desperate in his drive to resuscitate his dead son. His monstrous wife cannot cope with the loss of their child and has clearly lost her mind, and has had to be locked up for the safety of both herself and everyone around. The protagonist’s constant failures obviously drive him to a place of single minded madness, as he tried to cure his heartbreak and help his wife regain her wits. As he alienates all those he has left in his life, a creature appears and helps him on his journey, but the lengths that he is prepared to go to complete his projects leave us cold and fearful of what he will become to achieve his aims.
I honestly don’t know I felt when I walked out of this play. I was not the only one cringing in my seat and tearing up. It is extraordinary that bits of wire and hanger covered in cloth and plastic bags filled with fluff can make us feel so much and so deeply. Let’s just say that I needed a stiff drink and a think before I could put this together. The live soundscape creation is a welcome touch, and the percussion is on point throughout the play. The “Pet”’s conception, design and movement is so heartbreakingly endearing and captivating, and his character and performance is an absolute standout. We Walk Among You/Nous marchons parmi vous will probably stay with me for a long time, and I think that one of the joys of this show, is that even though it is sometimes difficult to watch, there are inspiring moments and beautiful ones. Be warned, this is not a children’s puppet show. I am not ready to say that I loved it, because I think that I’m going to nightmares tonight, but I will say that it is absolutely worth seeing, no matter how cold it is outside, you lazy bums. Get out there and see it, highly recommended.
We Walk Among You/Nous marchons parmi vous played at Mainline Theatre (3997 St-Laurent) from Nov 13-23, Thursday, Friday, Sunday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., General 15$, Students 12$