LA MÉLANCOLIE DES DRAGONS
HOME 2 Tony Wilson Place M15 4FN To 3 October 2015.
Runs 1hr 20min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 3 October.
A show as cool as can be.
Dragonic melancholy may make a major contribution to this widely-toured theatre piece from Philippe Quesne’s Vivarium Studio, opening with an extended static, wordless yet loud scene as a group of young men huddle head-banging to music ranging from heavy metal to medieval, at max volume on the player in their broken-down little car in a clearing of a snow-covered forest.
Or the title may have no meaning, any passing relevance to any part of the performance being coincidental or teasingly suggesting a non-existent significance. Emphasising, maybe, that that the play’s the thing; not its meaning, relation to life, society, nor its characters. What happens, happens and that is what matters. Any extrapolation is a matter of personal indulgence, of concern to the individual viewer alone.
Yet the idea of significance, that the response to the actor on the stage can be turned into something more than a response to an actor on the stage, persists in theatre audiences. Here, it’s met only by more show. Instead of the young men helping a little old lady whose car has broken down, a little old lady happens along and seeks to help them.
It does no good. Only smoke and useless parts emerge from under the bonnet, even when the space is so cleared-out she can climb bodily inside it.
So much for events moving forward. But if life can’t go forward, no-one waits for Godot, or even a mechanic. As more performers emerge from the trailer attached behind the car, they’ve a show to put-on, so on it goes, as they show her their amusement park – set-up here, for her, as anywhere, for anyone – creating a close-up theatre experience, as she responds joyously to their display of effects, with its projections, flurries of bubbles and, climactically, a load of black plastic sacks – rubbish-bags inflated to giant proportions.
These sum-up the transience of everything that’s preceded them in the men’s show. Yet their audience of one has found the time, which would have passed anyway, has passed with an enjoyable and unlikely sociability. As has time for the larger audience looking-on.
Cast: Isabelle Angotti, Rodolphe Auté, Joachim Fosset, Cyril Gomez-Mathieu, Sébastien Jacobs, Victor Lenoble, Émilien Tessier, Snoebjorn Brynjarsson.
Director/Designer: Philippe Quesne.
A Nanterre-Amandiers – centre dramatique national production.