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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Lucy Lost Her Heart

Heartless
by Chad Dembski
Lucy Lost her Heart is the third part of a trilogy that has been in development since 2005 by Theatre Junction Grand.  This is my first time experiencing one of their performances and this was the company's first time in Montreal.  
The show seems to start as the audience enters with all the performers in American Apparel underwear and warming up and rehearsing on stage.  They smile at the audience and seem to be preparing but also seem to be in some kind of character as well.  The show begins and the story of five “lost souls” who are trapped in more ways than one (in a mine, in the past, in their memories) a strange line between character and performer is constantly played with.  These characters include Flip (Mike Tan) who begins hosting the show and dreams of being a cowboy, Pocahontas who speaks en fran├žais as if in a constant dream and slowly paces back and forth on stage, Pierre (Stephen Turner) who has undergone a massive trauma that seems to both inspire and hold him back, Red (Isabelle Kirouac) the minor of the group who seems trapped in her own head and Lost Soldier (Ian Kilborn) who has returned from an unknown war.
The company has a lot of tools in their box to play with
Theatre Junction Grand are an ensemble company that create multi-disciplinary works that include dance, live music, improvisation, poetic text, video and theatre.  Influenced as much by visual art and installation and contemporary performance this show does seem to have it all in some ways.  The sound by Chris Dadge was fantastic - a huge range of experimental, rock, ambient and a mix of all three at times. The set (Deeter Schurig) was more installation than practical but still well used by the performers.  
The performers were also strong in certain ways (the movement of Isabelle Kirouac, the singing of Ian Kilburn, the audience connection of Mike Tan) but Lucy lost her Heart did not have enough heart itself.  The text often seemed written more for how it sounded than how it related to the piece or the character.  There was a strong sense of disassociation between each of the characters, between the performers and the audience, and between portraying emotion but not feeling it.  
The company has a lot of tools in their box to play with as various microphones are used, guitars come out to make an instant band, moveable yellow blocks become various items, dirt is poured on the floor, smoke slowly fills the theatre, live video cameras are used sparingly. As each character's story unfolded I became less interested in these “characters” and more in the performers themselves.  What is their story?  What trauma or horrors have they actually experienced?  What is it that they truly want to do?  
I left with more questions than answers and sometimes confusion is a good thing but on this night it felt empty.  

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