I had the good fortune to see a most remarkable production this week – Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love,” a production of Théâtre des Cybèle directed in French by Kevin Orr, a professor in the theatre department at the University of Ottawa, and it’s set in a remarkably seedy motel room on Montreal Road in Vanier. It’s a play about love, rage and jealousy and it’s set, yes, in a seedy motel room. The audience – there’s room for 12 of us – are seated on folding metal chairs lining the walls of the room, and we are thoroughly in the midst of the action of the play – audience members are asked to make sure to stay out of the actors’ way as they rush about the room. It’s claustrophobic, visceral, emotionally charged, and a thoroughly exceptional piece of theatre. Bravo to the actors, Nathaly Charrette, Yves Turbide, Paul Rainville, and Nicolas Desfossés.
Don’t understand French? Doesn’t matter. Immersed in that motel room, you can’t help but figure out what you need to know just by watching the actors, their faces, their gestures. When I was in Dublin last year I saw a production of Sam Shepard’s “True West”; the year before, I caught “The Curse of the Starving Class at the Abbey”. But in spite of being English-language performances, neither Irish production seemed to quite capture the essence of Shepard – either the despair of the characters or the idiom of the playwright’s language – the way this one did. So bravo too to the translator, Michèle Magny.
It’s a limited run to May 1 and with only 12 seats I suspect there aren’t many more tickets available – but if the opportunity presents itself, grab it!