“All oppression creates a state of war” says Garance, a French woman aboard this ship of fools; one of the many characters played by writer, director and star of Eve Majzels’ debut solo storytelling show: “The Sea at Night”. Trapped on a ship with a desire to relocate to a small deserted island and escape the bonds of an ever oppressive society from which she is running away. Or at least, this is what I assumed from this messy storytelling piece.
The set is bare but for one lone chair which moves around the stage far too much just like the performer herself causing much confusion for me as an audience member. I had a very hard time following the story. She spoke very fast, mumbled quite a bit and flitted about to and fro, back and forth, up and down far too often. It was rather dizzying. There is so much power in stillness and I feel this piece might have been more solid were it executed with more precision in movement. The miming was sloppy and amateur and felt like watching young students participating in their first miming game.
If I followed the story correctly, there was Judy, seeking escape, on a ship of fools, who flirts with the towel boy Lolito and is befriended by Garance, who attempts to convince her that running away is not a solution. The discourse between one character to the other was at times witty, at times sarcastic and at times scathing, but mostly, it was all over the place and all went by so quickly that there was no time to connect with any of them, even the protagonist herself. Her portrayal of Garance, was, in my opinion, the saving grace of the story in spite of being a stereotypical diva-ish French lady with too many opinions and unwarranted advice. I wanted to know more about her than I did about Judy.
There were some clowns involved, and it wasn’t clear to me what Judy had against the clowns other than that they are messy and leave their stuff lying around everywhere. But at some point in the story, we are told that the clowns are burning and being thrown overboard and thus mutiny is had. I feel like this could have been played out much more than it was. It was really one of the more interesting bits in the piece and deserved much more appraisal. Perhaps I missed something in her flurry of dialogue which swooshed past me too quickly for me to properly catch.
To be fair though, it takes a lot of guts, grit and courage to get up on a stage and share a story for 33 minutes to an audience. I commend her greatly her for her bravery, effort and you know, taking a risk and just doing it! A blooming young artist, improviser and storyteller; with some polishing, some deep breaths and an actual director, this piece could have been amazing. Unfortunately, for me it was a flop.
I would love to hear this story again, but with just a microphone, dim lighting, in a coffee shop, at a storytelling event and without all the unnecessary movement, miming and flitting about the stage because in the end, the story itself is interesting and has a lot of potential. However as much as it pains me to say this, because I want everyone who takes a risk to succeed and I can’t help but feel for Eve, it needs quite a lot of work.
“WHO IT’S FOR”
For Fringers who support their friends who take risks, for Fringers who like storytelling and Fringers who have a lot of time to see all sorts of shows.
Lionheart presents “The Sea At Night”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Performances: June 6 – June 15, 2019
Venue: 08 – Black Theatre Workshop Studio
3680 Jeanne-Mance Montréal, H2X 2K5
Admission: $8-10 | Ages 13+
Check out all our other 70+ reviews
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!