Feb. 06, 2013 - Issue #903: Moment by moment
Le Grand Cahier
Making its Edmonton debut is the stage adaptation of Ágota Kristóf's highly regarded first novel, Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook). It's a testament to survival, coming to L'Uni Theatre by way of Montréal: audiences are introduced to twin boys abandoned to their grandmother, whom they refer to as the Witch. A backdrop of war sets the tone for the boys' account of their hardships and the people they encounter along the way, forced to develop a thick skin and display an intelligence and inventiveness beyond their years.
One half of the pair is Montréal-based actor Renaud Lacelle-Bourdon. As he explains, the twins are not named throughout the production, but that doesn't matter—names are minor details. He and co-star Olivier Morin move as a unit and portray the entire cast themselves via quick voice changes and accompanying movements.
"Our main goal is to bring the truth, even if it's sometimes just a body positions. We don't look like a grandmother; we don't look like a priest. We're two young kids playing them, but the truth of the essence of the character gets to you, the public," Lacelle-Bourdon explains. "One of the dangers is not to play a caricature of the people, but to play the real person, to be in the right place, in the spirit ... it's not to make people laugh, it's to make them believe."
The twins are very strange, Lacelle-Bourdon admits, adding their strangeness is almost a gift and sets them apart from the everyday child on the street. They get tougher, both physically and mentally, to endure the sufferance of war and what they face at their grandmother's.
"Everybody around them are distorted by their fear, and it's dangerous, so that's not normal for kids to try and get smarter and get stronger to face that. They're like adults in a way ... or even smarter than adults actually," he says, adding that this aspect made it less of a stretch to take on the role of a child as an adult. "We say that we are twins and people see that, and we say that we're young and all the situations we're in and the public believes it somehow. I'm surprised every time, but it works."
Until Sun, Feb 10
(8 pm, 2 pm matinee on Sunday)
Directed by Catherine Vidal
La Cite Francophone, $17 – $26 vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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