Abstract, visceral and not defined by any form. This is Voyage(s) by Hanna Abd El Nour. Nour uses light, lots of it, aggressive, passive, observant to allow her players to take turns and simultaneously come centre-stage. Then there is also no one who really takes centre-stage, as the four players before us were all engaged in their telling, their own narrative, which didn’t really find any commonality or connection with the others.
Voyage(s) is meant to be a peripheral experience. Even Radwan Moumneh’s music, sporadic that it was, comes alive in fits and starts to prevent the audience from finding any grounding. The melody has hints of universality, yet there is no attempted poetry. The relentless circular journey that the characters on stage take, whether by walking backwards, attempting to run as they remain static, or other manners of bodily expressions, Voyage(s) speaks to the futile nature of our constant desire to move. While life moves, we in essence can only be static, albeit deluded that our movement is perpetual.
Nour dabbles in the histrionics of a utopian idea, flirts with memory, though only through snippets of storytelling, but the constructs around identity was a bit lost on me. Whether the utopian idea of liberty, eternal liberty through and from the journey was realized, will remain to be discovered. For now Voyage(s) leaves most of its questions unanswered and hopes to push its audience to engage, speak out, even by the smallest gesture of a ‘Salut/Hi’, and find answers to those eternal, esoteric questions.
Voyage(s)runs at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaine, 3700 St Dominique St, Montreal, QC H2X 2X7, from January 22 – February 3. For tickets: https://lachapelle.org/fr/calendrier/voyages