Real-life couple Ryan Bommarito as Dimitri and Devon Hardy as Sandy in Episode #3 of En Pointe (Photo credit: Mathieu Murphy-Perron)
Audiences in Montreal are in for a treat this summer as the Tableau D’Hôte Theatre company presents its new series of street theatre, a bilingual, socially-distanced production inspired by pandemic life in the neighbourhood of Pointe-St-Charles.
In episode #3 of En Pointe, we meet Sandy and Dimitri as they meet each other for a socially distanced first date. Against the natural backdrop of the Lachine canal and the Atwater market in modern-day Montreal, a romance blossoms. They’re quirky and they’re horny and they’ve got a mutual thing for tarot and avocado toast. As the banter builds, the 2-metre physical distancing protocol becomes more and more difficult to adhere to in a push-pull restraining game of desire. It’s “forbidden love” in no-touch times of COVID.
The “accidental” brushing is all good though, because the characters are played by real-life couple Devon Hardy and Ryan Bommarito (casting for shows these days often calls for actors who live together to contain transmission of the coronavirus). Their chemistry is palpable.
Add cyclists and joggers in the free open air, and there’s a special extra touch of realism to the scene. The simplicity of the staging allows Mathieu Murphy-Perron’s poetic, Shakespeare-inspired writing for the script to shine through.
The performance clocks in at just over 10 minutes, and we leave with a little snapshot of these rather eccentric yet relatable characters’ day-to-day lives in the Pointe. The short play makes humorous light of the challenges of dating during a pandemic where human contact is made all the more complex and confusing by new social rules. The situation makes for some great comedy and it’s fun watching the star-crossed lovers navigate the charged encounter.
It’s great to be outdoors and enjoying live theatre in the company of others after many months. Audience members were wearing masks and social distancing was easy to respect with the designated seating circles made from yellow rope on the ground. What a well organized and entertaining evening from Tableau d’Hôte.
The next and 4th performance of En Pointe will take place on Thursday, August 27th, in a new location, with new characters and new stories to discover in the neighbourhood. I am told though that we get to see Dimitri and Sandy’s relationship develop when they meet again in the 6th episode. Check out the website www.tableaudhote.ca for all the dates and information.
Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s En Pointe runs for 9 performances from August 6th to September 27th, 2020 across Pointe-Saint-Charles. Free admission. Every show is presented at a different location, revealed on the day of performances. Bring a mask.