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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lettres d’Amour - theatre season 2012

To the repeated strains of “La Vie En Rose”, Margot’s edited and adapted romantic comedy had us seated for half an hour in something of a boutique theatre, MUWCI style.  The director had taken care to provide carpeted seating areas and a cinema layout.

Blackout.  Lights up…

Two women are seated downstage each in their own pool of light, one (Alix) writing poisonous letters to the other, the stories in which are revealed upstage. Behind and between the two correspondents appeared Constanine, in a series of liaisons with young women, the lovers’ costumes black and white setting them in a world apart, a silent movie world, created by the fretful imagination of the reader (Clara). For all the dialogues (or rather reportage) are entirely in French, it was not difficult to catch the drift of the romantic triangle presented, and the whole atmosphere of the piece spoke volumes about the content.

Especially enchanting was the 1930s silent movie, screened as part of the piece, which had been very imaginatively, and intelligently, shot by Sanni. This was divertissement, entertainment and unashamedly so, with Margot and Jeppe shown as bright young things dallying with each other through the palm colonnades of Wada three. Mais c’est tellement Margot!

Alongside this, though, one has to credit the maturity and sense of theatre with which Margot wrote, directed, staged and performed this intimate bagatelle. A clear concept, a simple yet thorough working out and a telling humour marked this piece out as exceptional. There was also a sensitive use of the potentials of the theatre space through this play, and of the possibilities of story-telling through other media than words: mime, suggestion and movement. The final scene showed Margot (girl number four) in a spectacular and leggy tango display – the climax to the sad Clara’s fretful imaginings.

And at the end of the play, Constanine (guilty or innocent, we don’t know) arrives to find an empty apartment. She’s left. And left him. The audience was invited to open the little envelopes we’d received as we entered the theatre for this matinee performance.  Each audience member broke open the pink heart seal on his / her envelope to reveal a goodbye message inside, and the wounded, parting note ended: “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Which, in fact, it was, as we emerged into the bright sunlight outside.  

Benedict Clark
Head of Aesthetics

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