Montreal Radio Blog

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Joan of Arc Lives...

I have to admit that I can't remember the last time I went to the theatre, and so I'm not going to pass myself off as an expert... But I'm always ready to try new things - to a point... Last week, I was fortunate enough to be given a chance to attend a theatre premiere in Montreal. I was in the opening night audience for The Second Coming of Joan of Arc at the Freestanding Room in Montreal. The FSR is quite an intimate venue, to put it mildly. If you've never experienced theatre from that kind of proximity, you will certainly find it a new kind of experience.

What impressed me most about this play was that it was a one woman monologue. That meant the actress had to recite about an hour and a half's worth of monologue. With this play, it was also done with practically no distractions whatsoever. The way Caitie Parsons pulled it off flawlessly just made me appreciate even more the incredible poise and ability it takes to pull that off. The fact that she's going to perform the same play in french is all the more amazing.

On television or in film, you never have to remember 90 minutes in a row worth of lines. Even if you did, unless it were being done live (unlikely), you always have a safety net. In live theatre, you have no safety net, and if you are out there alone, you have nobody to play off of who might be able to "save" your mistakes.

For what it's worth, live radio is a bit like that. You make a mistake and you just wish you could turn the clock back 30 seconds and try again. Unfortunately, it's too late. Of course, there are no 90 minute memorized monologues in live radio! I'm hard-pressed to think of anything more challenging than performing that kind of show in front of a live audience. Those with true talent make anything look easy!

I won’t be reviewing the play itself, but I will say that I found the performance to be very intense. When I took film classes at McGill, they thought us that when watching a film, you will almost certainly subconsciously suspend reality, if not only for a split second. For that time, you will believe what you are seeing is real. I know I felt that way subconsciously while watching this performance.

By the way, you can still catch the play in french later this week. I understand the play will then be going on tour.

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