Upon entering the theatre, the set placed in front of the audience is anything but silent. There is a story to be told and interpreted within less than 30 seconds of casting our eyes on the details that surround us. (Silence.) tells this story expertly through, well, you guessed it, silence.
Two short pieces written and directed by Kathleen Aubert (Boka of Boka and Mazi;Possiblement Théâtre) and Stéfan Cédilot (Théâtre Sans Fond) bring us on a journey through the mundane. In these 2 short half an hour pieces, time goes by minute by minute, second by second revealing the very minute and nuanced details of everyday life.
The first piece shows us a man, Jackie (played by Patrick Rogers), down on his luck waiting for a job from George (Charles Mayer) to repay a debt. Once this “job” is made known, we begin to understand the tension Jackie feels as he tries and fails to roll himself a joint while shiftily looking at himself in the mirror. For the next 20 minutes, we embark on a tense journey with him, feeling and seeing his fear, his guilt, his hesitation. It’s all there in the details; in the way he nervously paces about the room and in the way he considers his options so desperately and in the way his body and facial expressions match exactly what we think is going on in his head. Although it was easy to judge Jackie as a deadbeat upon first inspection, I was rooting for him so hard as I am sure many others in the audience were as well.
But the story here isn’t what’s important, and this is very clear; it’s about the things we do in the quiet, when no one else is around, when we are just going about our day, with our routines, our idiosyncrasies, our obstacles and challenges.
The second piece centers around 3 individual women (Marie-Joëlle Guindon, Audrée Southière, Katherine Turnbull) going about their similar, yet vastly different morning routines. I found this absolutely fascinating to watch. I felt like a kid watching Friends or Power Rangers and assigning myself a role based on whom I liked best or identified with most. I wonder if others in the audience did the same.
Once again, for the next 29 minutes or so, not much happens in terms of action, narrative or story, but that’s not what it’s about. We have before us three women, each with their own personalities, characteristics, preferences and methods: one who likes to keep organized, rolling lint off her clothes professionally and obsessively; one who (my personal nightmare) is extremely messy, discards her “failed” outfits on the floor, dumps her make-up right on the desk and then can’t find what she’s looking floor; and the third, who begins her day chill, relaxed and with a glass of wine.
All three of them, at some point, put on a pair of pantyhose, and each does it very differently than the others. And hilariously, all three keep forgetting their mascara –– very relatable. It’s interesting to see this individual uniqueness happen before our eyes. These are no longer just 3 dimensional characters, they are now a little more than that. They are us all, in some way.
In these two half hours of not much going on, there are so many stories, so many interpretations to make and so much imagination to exercise. What happened the night before? How did he get so far in debt? What are they getting ready for? These are all questions I asked myself but was happy to never really have an answer for. Both of these shorts accomplish cliffhanger endings, for which we are witness to their reactions toward a thing that happened that we don’t know about and never will, which in turn, propelled my imagination farther into the realm of unknown, endless and exciting possibilities.
As I’ve mentioned, this wasn’t at all about the story, it was about the silence, the nuance and the particularities of the humanly mundane and it was absolutely well executed, leaving me wondering, questioning, identifying and giggling to myself as I thought about my own extremely meticulous and particular morning routine.
Don’t let the title fool you. The silence is loud, it is active, it is full of possibilities and it is deafening.
“WHO IT’S FOR”:
This show is for those who want something a little different; something raw, honest and real but also for those who are willing to dive a little deeper into their own self-awareness and continue to explore themselves once they leave the theatre.
Théâtre Sans Fond presents “(Silence.)”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Performances: June 6 – June 16, 2019
Venue: 04 – Studio Multimédia du Conservatoire
4750 Henri-Julien, Montréal, H2T 2C8
Admission: $10 – 12 | Ages 12+
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from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!